All I want for Christmas is (My Family)
After a lot of thinking about what to write, I talked with my sister organizing the logistics of the next few days and it occurred to us that it would be an excellent topic to talk about my family traditions for Christmas.
Christmas in my house is really an event, really something big and really something magical. The dynamic of those days is really energetic, on the 24th at night there is a dinner and the exchange of gifts, the menu of that day includes 3 or 4 turkeys prepared in different ways, salads, infinite desserts and lots of wine. On the 25th there is a meal where we eat cod, apple salad, pasta, more desserts and more wine, there are games, dances, songs and more gifts.
I remember that among the approximately 56 relatives that we are, we divided the functions as a raffle (a bit arbitrary) and the work teams were placed on a sheet stuck in the living room of my grandmother’s house. From my first memories of my childhood I can locate myself in my grandmother’s kitchen at the table that was designed for children, stripping the parsley. That was the main function of anyone younger than 14, defoliating bundles and bunches of parsley under the random supervision of an adult; We all ended up with green fingers with granny texture on the fingertips and attacked with laughter.
The teams, as I mentioned earlier, in my opinion, being 8 years old, were a bit arbitrary, there was the parsley team formed by all the children, there was a cod preparation team which included functions like removing the fish bones (when it was still boiling) , chop onions, peel tomatoes, peel potatoes, cut peppers, among many others and as my mother was always in that team, therefore all my brothers had to go early on the 23rd and start our functions. There was another team in charge of the turkey, which I could only join once or twice (in addition to my other teams) and it was incredible to think about injecting a turkey. There were also people in charge of bread, ice, tables and wine that were usually cousins, men or uncles, so I do not know much about that. There was a team, which for me was the “cool” team that prepared the apple salad and they were pure cousins of the age who beat me for about 6-8 years, very modern as telenovela artists, all always beautiful, with boyfriends or parties , and for some reasons not even to date (now that I have a boyfriend and I consider myself “cool” hahaha) I am part of that team, which is great because they continue to prepare the same bonuses. And so continually teams were formed to prepare everything that had to do with Christmas.
Then, on the 23rd it was a complete madness, we all had breakfast at my grandmother’s house some eggs in a pot (which is typical of that house), a freshly baked bread bought in “La Vienesa”, and the talkative began. My family is like those families in the movies where everyone talks too much, they shout, they organize, they clap, they cheer, they laugh out loud almost like an episode of Cake Boss adding up to any Italian mafia party. Then, there is food, laughter, shouting, more food, organization and more laughter.
I love being part of this family, my mom has 5 brothers and 6 sisters (one died as a baby so I only know 5), so it is a large family, all are separated by 1 or 2 years or even months, so I see them as a huge group of friends where everyone gets along and they are all completely different from each other, so you have doctors, architects, karate professionals, lawyers, lovers of singing, administrators, financiers, teachers, engineers, philosophers, politicians, sportsmen so you can imagine a bit of family reunions.
For obvious reasons the heart of the family is my grandmother (my grandfather died when I was 9 years old so I have beautiful but few memories of him), one of the most interesting people I have ever met, she has had the opportunity to travel a lot so she has enough anecdotes to do a series on Netflix of her experiences, she loves art, books, she study painting, knows English and French, she is an excellent card player, she is an excellent cook, she is happy, fun, educated, affectionate, has the most beautiful eyes I’ve seen, full of light of those who let you see their very special soul, has the softest skin in the world, smells delicious and hold her hand while talking to you is really a gift.
In a few words my grandmother fills us all with joy and Christmas revolves around her, she goes to the kitchen and tries each dish and approves it, she reviews how they organized the tables and is ready to enjoy every moment with the family and some who come from outside. The most incredible thing is that every year she gives each grandchild a pajama, so there is an emotion to receive her gift. (Here’s my grandmother many years ago, with my aunt Flor, a magic soul that is no longer with us).
The day of the pachanga (party) arrives, and we all arrived at my grandmother’s house, we all stay in the main room where the beautiful Christmas tree is, we talked, we laughed, we drink and then we move to where the dinner is served where they sang truncheons each team to prepare everything and start enjoying. Then we organize the exchange of gifts, where there is a huge circle and in an animated way we announce who gives whom and is really fun.
On the 25th, many of us are celebrating the gift they gave us the day before, we began to eat, we made the blessing, and we sang our family traditional song where everybody is invited to drink, enjoy life, be brave and live together. Then on the 26th, some of us usually go for a reheated or cod cake to my grandmother’s house and we feel that Christmas lasts a little longer.
So until now everything is laughter, fun, food wholesale, gifts, games, songs, but unfortunately each of my cousins have grown up, some have married and also have to spend Christmas with their partner’s family, some cousins live outside and for the same, this year that we are all together (as a long time ago it did not happen), I have a lot of desire to see everyone.
I thought that although it was something personal, everyone can identify with a story like this, each family has its traditions that they carry out with enthusiasm to stay together, to grow in a strong nucleus, and whether you are from a large family like mine and that today among grandchildren, nephews, cousins, and couples my grandmother’s house looks like a huge party, or your family is satisfied of 2 or 3 members always find the time to enjoy together, it may not be at these Christmas parties, but spend time with the Family always provides a feeling similar to when it’s cold and you grab a cup of hot chocolate and it automatically sends you a feeling of affection and familiarity.
So this week’s invitation is very simple, generate moments with your family that can be forever frozen, fill your heart with anecdotes, and no matter which parties you are celebrating or why you have gathered, try to talk with each member of your family, know how they are or what they think of life and let them know you. In my family there is a famous phrase “Family comes first, second and third” and sometimes that family has a blood relationship, sometimes it is the love of your life or sometimes it is the family that you choose, but the family is always going to be there to support you, and mine always does, so in the end I invite you to cheapen your grandparents, tell people what you feel for them, and especially enjoy the moments they spend together when the time passes you give note that those memories become a treasure.
So for those who are celebrating Christmas, I wish you much love and much happiness and for those who sought a pretext to meet also enjoy each other.
Ahí nos vemos!