What an amazing time of year the holiday season is; the joyous spirit it brings and the festive events are just a couple reasons I love it most. Generations of my family gathering together to celebrate, connect and embrace, undoubtedly the tradition I flourished in. We gathered of course at the home of our matriarch, my great grandmother; who unified us as one. Her call, home and spirit served as a gentle beacon to generations; guiding us all toward comfort and love.  The huge parties, spread of food and exchange of merriment left a feeling that simply couldn’t be denied.

Unfortunately, as it’s true in life, the course of time inevitably brought change. Our family lost it’s beacon and in what seems to be the natural order – divided. Breaking into more intimate holiday celebrations within the comforts of our homes, we individually develop our own traditions. Not realizing what we lost, this pattern continued for many years.

As the time came for me to begin my own tradition, to become sole preparer of the meals, I couldn’t help but reminisce on those times my family gathered. I grew eager to provide the same experience I was raised in- but how?  Where do I start? This was definitely not the time for trial and error!, I thought, flipping through magazines and scrolling through recipes on the web. A slight sense of panic slowly creeped in, this should not be this hard, right?!  Luckily, I recalled writing down a recipe during a conversation with my great grandmother and after digging vigorously through old boxes and photo albums I finally found it. Feeling grateful and relieved I finally started a meal plan. 

Needless to say, my first dinner did’nt go so well; neither did the second or third. After a few botched dinners and more moments of my guests poking at their food with squeamish faces than I can count, a new game plan was needed. If only I’d taken more time to chat with grandma, I could’ve provided the same feast! 

The teacakes, corn bread, macaroni and ham. The dressing, candied yams and sweet potato pies – these recipes couldn’t possibly have been lost!  Surely I wasn’t the only one who asked for the them! My search immediately began. I called everyone I could think of, baring the question- did grandma teach you any recipes? The response was almost overwhelming, a unanimous, yes she did rang out! Collecting the information as family shared with me which recipe they had, I recognized what had taken place. It was similar to a puzzle whos pieces where scattered right before my eyes. Every part of my family had at least one of my great grandmothers recipes. And just like a puzzle, the entire picture, the amazing experience could not be had until the individual pieces were put back together.  

It was then I saw how my great grandmother Mildred gave us all one piece of the puzzle; one recipe. Leaving a trail of bread crumbs to find our way back home if we ever got lost. She did her part to bring together a table that sat generations. This revelationion was added to the chest of reasons I love the Holiday Season. What are your reasons?