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Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I would venture to guess that most family traditions are surrounding Christmas. Some as simple as getting up before the dawn to open Christmas gifts, or the order that the gifts are opened in. Or as elaborate as getting all the Christmas lights to synch perfectly to the tune of "We Wish you a Merry Christmas" so you can hold the prestige of your neighbors as having the best lights in the neighborhood.

For me, our family tradition is Christmas Eve dinner. My dad's side of the family brings our Italian heritage to life every year. My earliest memories of Christmas was our family of 7 driving from Wisconsin to Cleveland to be with family for Christmas. Christmas Eve at my grandparents house was full of the sights of pasta being made by hand, smells of halibut cooking in the oven and sauce simmering on the stove, and the sound of the china rattling in the china cabinet every time someone walked a little heavy footed through the dinning room or a small child making a quick dash.

All hands were on deck to make the mouth watering meal, complete with the aforementioned homemade pasta, made with the pasta machine that our great uncle invented, and the feast of the 7 fishes. (although I don't think we ever had 7 fishes...maybe 3 or 4). The kids all waited to see if any of us had graduated to the adult table or which older cousin would move to the kids table to keep us younger ones entertained during the meal. After our bellies were full, all of us grandkids were chomping at the bit to rip into those perfectly wrapped packages that were under the tree. But the tradition was, no presents until the kitchen was clean! So, again, all hands on deck to make that happen as fast as possible.

One more tradition before we got our hands on those new toys...some sort of performance by us grandkids, of course perfectly directed and produced by our older cousins. Whether it was the story of the Nativity or how Santa wasn't going to make it to Cleveland this year, we entertained every one with our cute and adorable antics.

Finally the moment we all had been waiting for...the presents were opened...excitement bursting...wrapping paper everywhere! And ya know....I don't remember any presents I opened all of those years...(ok...except one..a knock off Cabbage Patch Doll). All those years of anticipating those moments of opening presents and what I remember most...the tradition that still lives on...the tradition that I cherish and want to pass on to my all that time spent in the kitchen to prepare the meal, and then to enjoy the meal together as family!

It has now evolved to the tradition of my dad and I cooking Christmas Eve dinner together, from planning the menu, to shopping at the West Side Market, to cooking all day to the tunes of Carpenters Christmas (this album is it's own tradition in our family) and then sitting back and seeing everyone enjoy the fruits of our labor. Last year was the first time in my life that I was not home for this tradition (as our second son was just born we decided not to travel) and so now....I am chomping at the bit to get home to Cleveland start planning, shopping for food and cooking with my dad!

One more tradition that is pretty common with most families is the tradition of taking a family portrait to record in time how great everyone looks! How fun it is to look back at those photographs over the years and see the hairstyles, the clothes or how much the little ones have grown. So, how long has it been since you have had a family portrait done? How long have you been putting it off to freeze those smiles in time? Don't put it off any longer, don't wait another year!

Get out your best Christmas sweater, put on the Christmas cheer smile and say CHEESE!

For those of you who live in the Cleveland area and are ready to renew that family portrait during the Christmas season, contact me today! It's not too late. I am going to be in Cleveland from December 21-at least December 27. A family portrait doesn't take long, I come to you and I can wrangle those little ones quick to get them all together to look at me, smile and show those adorable faces! (For those in Indy I am available New Years Weekend)

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