It’s December, which means it’s the end of the year and holidays are rapidly approaching! With this comes traditions which are a pleasure to either be a part of or learn about. I wanted to hear what traditions my colleagues partake in every year, so I spoke with a few associates in each of our four divisions. It was wonderful taking a peek into their family history and traditions, all while learning what is most meaningful to them.
A fellow DC office Summiteer, originally from Allentown, PA, has a very Southern Italian tradition he and his family take part in. On Christmas Eve, the entire family gets together at his grandparents’ house in New Rochelle, NY. In the evening, they eat a dinner as all families tend to but this isn’t just any dinner. It’s called the, “Dinner of the 7 Fishes”, which means there is a minimum of 7 seafood dishes for everyone to eat. Keep in mind, there’s about 16-20 people present so tons of food has to be made! The dishes vary but he says he really loves his uncle’s fried calamari and ceviche. Also, in past years they have always have large platters of sushi. Usually everything is supposed to be homemade; nothing from the outside. So this year, his youngest cousin plans to make sushi from scratch and he’s hoping it turns out well. After they are completely stuffed, they attend midnight mass together as a family. For as long as he can remember the Dinner of the 7 Fishes has always been a family tradition. It has been passed down from his dad and his dads’ brothers who are originally from southern Italy, so of course it’s the real deal! You can never go wrong when it comes to Italian food!
In our Atlanta office, we have another lovely Summiteer who has a special family tradition on Christmas Eve. Over the years, her family, including her adult daughters, their spouses, and their children, all attend church service together. Her and her husband started taking their girls when they were much younger because they wanted them to learn and maintain a strong foundation on the true meaning of Christmas, especially before the craziness of gift-giving and receiving occurs on Christmas morning! She says that effort which seemed minor to her so many years ago was appreciated because now her daughters take their children to Christmas Eve service as well. It’s a very meaningful tradition for her and even more significant because she is able to spend it with her loved ones. She aspires to share the true meaning of being together and the Christmas story for generations to come.
The Summiteer I spoke with in Chicago travels for the holidays! This time of year is one of his favorites because it means the family is together for about a good week which he thoroughly enjoys. The holiday break also gives him time to spend it with close family friends. Every year for the 24th, they drive to his grandparents’ house early and spend the day with them there. His grandmother cooks for a whole troop as if it was Thanksgiving all over again! She is a magnificent cook and usually the menu includes ham, sweet potatoes, bread, fruit, apple pie, lemon dessert, white cupcakes, and seven layer desserts. Imagine all of that just for Christmas Eve! It sounds delicious. Egg nog and red wine are their classic drinks. After they’ve finished eating, they enjoy a nice church service together. Once church is over, they make a fire and surround one another with laughter and storytelling. Before their night ends, they open up presents so on the 25th they can focus entirely on family while watching the classic Christmas comedy, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! After Christmas and through New Year’s he tends to enjoy a ski or snowmobile trip with close friends and family.
Last but not least, I spoke with a gentleman in our New Hampshire office, who is the youngest of 8 children, about his holiday traditions. He says his father was a true patriarch and although he passed away 15 years ago, his mother has done a marvelous job keeping the traditions alive. In addition to 8 children, his mother has 26 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren so Christmas is filled with lots of love and people. Many of the Holidays are special but Christmas Eve is especially festive. He attends mass with the family and then return to his mother’s house for a celebration. All of the food is homemade and the drinks are always cold. The grandchildren exchange gifts, presents are given to his mother and for the most part they just celebrate the spirit of the season. It’s an evening that never needs to be scheduled or discussed because everyone knows where they will be on December 24th.
Togetherness is the theme of the holiday season, so be sure to cherish your moments together with loved ones! If you have already established a tradition with your family and friends, we would love to hear from you and learn what makes your holiday so special. It’s certainly never too late to start a tradition either, so consider making 2015 your year to do so if you haven’t already!
Happy Holidays from your friends at Summit Group!
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