I was 10 years old when I found out most American families eat turkey or ham for the Christmas meal. I remember my surprise. For years, being raised as the granddaughter of both Italian and Polish descent, our Christmas meals were anything but conventional to the southeast region where we lived. Celebrating our Eastern European roots on Christmas Eve we served fish, Kielbasa, pierogis, and sautéed sauerkraut with apples. My older brothers and I awoke Christmas morning to a table of kolache, or Polish rolled yeast breads filled with a poppy seed or nut mixture. The afternoon meal was a southern Italian fare of stuffed ricotta shells, Grandma B’s meatballs and Nani’s nutmeg cookies nestled among the side table of towering desserts. Everything was homemade with fresh ingredients!
It’s easy to think about family traditions as the holidays arrive. I wouldn’t trade my family traditions for the world. They make me who I am. And to this day I always look forward to huddling up in the kitchen with my mom and young daughter as we read handwritten recipes from generations past.
In its double issue of December and January, Augusta Family captures a festive mix of topics and traditions. We have articles on optimism and joy, decluttering our phones and a special feature on a young man’s creative impersonation to help kids show kindness and compassion in the New Year. The News and Notes section highlights some favorite holiday traditions of Augusta Family contributors, and we are rolling out a new feature for 2020 called The Modern Perspective where we will highlight a different extraordinary student with each issue.
At the close of 2019, my hope is that Augusta Family readers will reflect on the joy of simple traditions. The privilege of preparing a meal, attending a memorable event, or gathering in cozy spaces has a timeless effect not to be overlooked in the bustling noise around us. Valuable moments are lasting. In fact, they blanket our hearts like a falling snow with a indelible identity for years to come.
Blessings through the holidays, and best wishes for a happy and safe New Year! See you in 2020!
This article appears in the December 2019/January 2020 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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