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  • Betty Girardeau


For most of us the holidays are times steeped in all kinds of traditions. Traditions are, I think, at the root of why the season is so important to us. This year, sadly, some of our important ones, like celebrating with family and friends and going to parties and musical performances will be scaled down at best or, worse, totally lacking. Because traditions are important things that contribute to our sense. of comfort and belonging, even stability, I think it is important that we embrace as many of the ones that have been important to us over the years as we safely can. Baking is a good one. I have certain cookie recipes that I particularly associate with Christmas, like the Lutheran Church Ginger ones and the the candy cane shaped sugar cookies. My Mother's mother and my mother-in-law and her sister used to make assorted candies every year, my favorite being candied orange peel, which had sometimes been dipped in chocolate to make it even more special. My son-in-law is Jewish and our family has happily added Challah bread to our list of holiday traditions. The image above is of the bread that I made for Christmas 2016. Thankfully, not all holiday traditions are food related, though. My daughter now has the little plastic holly ball with a Christmas elf sitting on it that had long been one of my decorations. It has always been one of the first decorations to be put up and the last to come down and be packed away until another year. Since my children have grown up and started to have their own Christmas trees, I have been giving them at least one ornament each year to add to them. Realizing that it was unlikely that I would ever have a large tree again, since 2017 I have been selecting ornaments from my stash that I thought would have meaning and memories for them. I am not sure how many old ones I still have to share, but whether they get some more old ones or I end up buying ornaments for them this year, I plan to continue to honor that tradition this year. One tradition that I will miss this year is the exchanging of Christmas stockings because my daughter's family is the only one that has wanted to carry this one on, and I will not be traveling to her house this pandemic year. I will share more about memories of stocking exchanges in a post later. Suffice it to say, I think traditions are really special, and I think this year we should try to keep as many of them as possible while maybe creating some new ones. They give us something to look forward to and are fun and enjoyable while, keeping us grounded and focused on what really matters in life. We need those things, especially this year.

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