It feels a little early to be thinking about Christmas, but in all reality, it is not that far away. With Thanksgiving being so late this year, Christmas is going to really sneak up on us. Which makes me very happy, because Christmas Eve dinner is my absolute favorite meal of the entire year.
My family is primarily Polish, and ever since my dad was a small child, it has been family tradition to celebrate the traditional Polish Christmas Eve meal, wigilia. The meal is a meatless menu, consisting of fish, shrimp, baked macaroni and cheese, sauerkraut with mushrooms and peas, potato salad, pickled herring, stewed prunes, and buckwheat. Before dinner, we do a tradition where we all break pieces off of Holy Bread, called oplatek, wishing each other good things in the new year, followed by a toast with homemade wine.
This is a tradition that my grandparents started years ago, and all three of their children continued it with their children, and grandchildren. This is what Christmas is for us. There is something special about the feeling of that day, something that has nothing to do with commercialism, or religious difference, dietary constraints, or weather forecasts. That feeling is tradition. That feeling is family.
We have been fortunate for the last few years that we have been all able to get together on this special day. It gets a little more complicated each year, with work schedules and such. But this really is a very special gift that our grandparents gave us all, and I love so much that we have, and will continue to carry it on.
Geesh, not I am even more excited for Christmas. Perhaps tomorrow I will put up one of our trees, and start practicing how to say Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia. (That is Merry Christmas in Polish.).
Życzenia zdrowia, szczęscia i radości w Nowym Roku!