As my semester is finally coming to a close, I am starting to really get into the Christmas spirit and I am dreaming about all of the wondrous food I am going to eat and catching up with my family. However, things run a little different in my family because of my blend of Mexican traditions with Italian traditions.
While growing up, Christmas was an important time for both sides of my family because we are so big and we do not get to see each other as often. My mom’s family is majority Italian so we always eat homemade Italian food while my dad’s family is mostly Mexican so we always eat homemade tamales and desserts. However, no matter the traditions in the end Christmas is just about spending time together and eating good food.
A couple days after Thanksgiving, my mom and grandpa would spend all day making homemade spaghetti sauce (gravy) and meatballs to freeze until Christmas Day. The house would smell like garlic and tomatoes for days. With my dad’s side of the family, weeks before Christmas we would pray the rosary (a traditional Catholic prayer) and sing Spanish Christmas carols everyday with my abuela (Spanish for grandma).
Then on Christmas Eve after church, my family and I would have to drive some place in Northern Illinois or Wisconsin to exchange gifts and spend time with my mom’s side of the family. On Christmas Day after opening presents from Santa, we would go to grandpa and grandma’s house to exchange more presents and eat a lot of meatballs and spaghetti. After dinner, my family and I would drive to the other side of Chicago to have tamales and dessert with my abuela, abuelo, and great grandma and pray the rosary one more time. It was an exhausting couple of days but I would not have traded it for anything else.
Now 6 years after my family moved from Chicago to North Carolina we still try to keep these traditions. The day after Thanksgiving we had an all day tamale-making marathon with my abuela. Then when we go to Chicago for Christmas this year we are going to make spaghetti sauce and meatballs with my grandpa. So it can get a little hectic but it’s worth it because nothing beats making amazing food with family.
[Photos courtesy of Pinterest and Julie Reyes; gif courtesy of giphy.com]