Family Traditions We’ll Keep!

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Family Traditions We’ll Keep!

By Martha Lee

We’ve all got ‘em, whether we decide to keep ‘em or pass ‘em on, we have all experienced our fair share of family traditions.  Now I’m not talking about receiving that dreaded fruitcake every Christmas from your dear Aunt Sallie or even having to sit through your Dad’s favorite black and white flick (one that’s less desired).  I want to focus on the traditions that everyone loves and looks forward to – the ones we either pass down from generation to generation or those we choose to make and keep for our own children.  These traditions become welcome memories that are built upon year after year, and they give us something special to look forward to as we spend time together. 

For the past few weekends, I’ve come to realize that I am continuing a weekend breakfast tradition that my grandparents shared with my mama and her sisters some years ago.  Saturday morning biscuits and gravy or Granddaddy Bob’s buttermilk pancakes are prized possessions around these parts, and I take joy in knowing that these Saturday morning pleasures were started and enjoyed around my Geemama’s kitchen table when my mama was a girl.  It didn’t occur to me that I was even carrying on a tradition until my mama shared her joys of memories with me about those same buttermilk pancakes that both Naomi and I inhale – made from scratch by her Daddy who passed when she was young.  His recipe is enjoyed by multiple generations now, and although I never got the opportunity to meet him, he is honored in our home and makes us smile every other weekend – now that’s a tradition worth keeping!
Since starting a family of my own in the past two years, my husband and I have created some traditions of our own as well.  They started out spontaneously fun, and since having so much fun with them, we’ve decided to keep ‘em and add to ‘em over the years.  Even before our daughter was born, we have been collecting magnets and Christmas ornaments from all over the globe – trinkets from places we’ve visited and special trips we’ve taken that we want to keep forever.  We write the dates and locations from where they were purchased on the back, and these small tokens that we collect spark happy memories and hilarious conversations each year as we pull them out to put on the tree. 

Another tradition we just started last year also happens around Christmas – the night before Christmas.  Since all of our relatives live outside of Savannah, we decided to skip the big Christmas Eve dinner and instead, we head to Waffle House!  It’s a fun way to come together and bring a smile (and generous tip) to others who may have to work all night instead of being with their families.  And well, let’s face it.  It’s hard to pass up a Waffle House breakfast any time of year!

Family traditions are considered keepers for not only the memories they help us to create but also the happiness they bring – small parts of each year that make up big parts of our lives.  What traditions do you and your family enjoy?  Are they passed down from generations or created all your own?  I hope that they create as much laughter and good times for you as they do for my family and me. 

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Reader Comments:


I would love to get the recipe from Melissa Bray for her grandmother's chocolate depression era cake that has no eggs in it and is fudgy.

By Cathy Strong on July 17, 2012


We have a birthday tradition that you receive what you want for dinner and the dessert of your choosing. My children and husband take full advantage of this opportunity. My favorite chocolate cake, which is a family tradition is a depression era cake that has no eggs in it and is the most fudgy, moist cake you have ever put in your mouth. My great-grandfather named it Suffer cake because he said he suffered until he got it again. We still call it suffer cake to this day. I am also a Christmas junkie and love, love this holiday. Our family usually does the standing rib roast with all the trimmings (turkey for Thanksgiving) and an assortment of yummy baked goods and desserts. We always make a big deal about the stockings being opened first and I wrap everything toothbrushes included. My kids also get to find the pickle ornament on the tree and the person who finds it get's an extra something special.

By Melissa Bray on July 10, 2012


I have a few family traditions - all done at either Thanksgiving or Christmas and now we've added something new for the Easter Holiday. Thanksgiving is my husbands favorite holiday. I make the usual things that I make every year. But the one thing that my family expects the most is my sweet potato casserole. It has vanilla, bourbon, marshmallows and many other ingredients to make it a sweet addition to the meal. At Christmas, my sister who is 15 years older than me and married when I was only 2 years old started a tradition of baking cookies, fudge, marmalades, buying and decorating the christmas tree and going shopping to special shops and areas that we didn't frequent the rest of the year. My children are grown now and they do not have any children of their own as yet, but, they do each have a dog or two and so on Easter after the big meal, we go out and hide plastic easter eggs that we filled with dog treats of some kind and we take the dogs outside and they hunt around until they find the plastic egg and if they don't open the egg, we do and give them the treat inside. It's amazing how quickly they catch on. Thanks for letting me share these traditions with you.

By Kim on June 21, 2012


Thanksgiving Day is my favorite tradition. I make two stuffings every year; one the traditional sage and the other my Portuguese grandmother's hot pepper stuffing. My family would be very disappointed if I didn't make Grandma Macedo's stuffing! The following day is the start of Christmas decorating weekend with Thanksgiving Day leftovers!

By Elizabeth A. Roy on June 19, 2012


Our tradition has been for years. At Christmas Dinner, or Thanksgiving Dinner when I make crescent rolls, I wrap up a quarter in alum foil and put it in the roll, roll it up and bake. Whomever gets that crescent roll, they have good luck. Our Grandchildren, and now our Great Grandchildren enjoy this tradition.

By Marsha on June 19, 2012


I love traditions. When my daughter was growing up we always watched the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade together. When the parade started I would get out my special Christmas coffee mug and use it for the first time that year, and every day till New Years. She is now 40, and if she is visiting on Thanksgiving we both watch the parade with Christmas mugs. When she is not here she calls me when the parade starts and we both have our mugs in hand.

By Audrey on June 19, 2012


I love reading about everyone's traditions, but the best one for us is, at Christmas. We all get together and make Christmas candy. From the youngest to the oldest. It's always been the one thing that our family does that keeps us talking, and laughing for hours. We also cook dinners at my parents for each and every family members birthday. It's those small things that keep our family tied to each other.

By Jenni Rynders on June 14, 2012


Family times and traditions are still very important to me and I cherish the memories I have of my grandfather frying his chicken in that huge seasoned cast Iron skillet and Christmas Eve my grandmother making her famous shrimp gumbo. Our family got so big it was almost impossible to cook for everyone but still in order to adapt each family made a special dish to bring and pass so we all became part of the family tradition and just kept it going until both my grandparents passed. We still make the famous foods for our own individual families but it will never be the same as it was back in the day.

By Kathleen Garrison on June 13, 2012


When my youngest son was small his favorite thing was a dish my mom used to make,it was a salad made with cottage cheese lime jello pineapple coolwhip and I think that's all I don't remember for sure. But he liked it so much he had to have it for all the holidays and family cookouts from than on. He called it The Green Stuff! Now that everyone has grown up we don't have it anymore! Everybody is on a diet! I miss it!

By Diane Sharpless on June 13, 2012

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