A Winter Tradition ~ Call it what you want

We have had a winter tradition as a family for a few years now; a family celebration at the close of another year.  Call it what you want, it does not matter to us.

As I was raised in and was even until recently formerly part of a religion that did not honor any of the well-known holidays (Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, even birthdays) that so many of us today do celebrate, I felt that after all those years, I wanted to still have something that we as a family could commemorate on our own.  Seeing as we have distanced ourselves from that and in it’s absence have not ever chosen any one specific or particular religious practice to but rather are now open to all beliefs/traditions, I guess we tend to embrace a bit of everything these days.  Call it Christmas, Winter Solstice, or just simply a celebration or family tradition . . . Love is at the core and a display of gratitude for having one another and having another year together our aim.

Through the years we have adopted mostly a winter theme (makes sense when you are buried in the snow, heehee) but have adopted other themes, as well.


When I was little, one of my older cousins (also being raised in the religion) came up with the idea of us celebrating Love A Lot day together. She wanted to make a holiday of her own for us littler ones to look forward to. In honor of that sentiment and in honor of her, we used that theme in our 2010 celebration.

For the most part I suppose we most closely observe Winter Solstice. The longer we have been here the harder the winter months have become for us so we try our best to look at them with gratitude embracing the darkness so as to better appreciate the period of light and regrowth that it allows for; a celebration of another year coming to a close, a review of our blessings and growth and yet another year together, and new beginnings.


This year’s celebration was wrought with struggles for us. We were not as prepared as we would’ve been in past years.  We put off thinking about it really because our plan was for our house to have sold and to be in another place come winter.   We just kept thinking we would wait on it.  Then came the news that Tyler had passed and everything came to a screeching halt.  When we returned home from California for his memorial services we were surprised by yet another setback and I started to think maybe it just wasn’t going to be possible.  Things were mounting upon us and I felt so overwhelmed.  But in the midst of it all, I realized that more than anything, this year (with both as much as we had been through and as much as we had to celebrate) we had to make it happen.  We needed it!

And so keeping it simple and modest, we decided with all of us at home that day,  we would join all those others gathered in so many places all over in love and on Christmas day we gathered around the fireplace, exchanged our gifts and then set out to spend the day together doing absolutely nothing but “being” together.  It was so nice.

The highlight for me had to be the kids stepping forward to offer to make dinner for us all that night.

And so while THIS was taking place in the kitchen . . .

Trystan scoured the internet for the perfectly prepped and cooked turkey recipe (a la Gordon Ramsay, of course).
Trystan scoured the internet for the perfectly prepped and cooked turkey recipe (a la Gordon Ramsay, of course).
Livy wanted to make a special dessert. Something that said old-fashioned, traditional.
Livy wanted to make a special dessert. Something that said old-fashioned, traditional.


here’s what Mom was doing . . .

A special thank you to my daddy for these snuggly slippers (a pre-Christmas treat).
Our bounteous dinner prepared with so much love. Complete with brussel sprouts, gluten-free stuffing, whipped garlic potatoes and cranberry relish. Oh and of course, a little bubbly for us all (Martinelli’s for the kids, of course).
And we did make a seitan roast for Livy and I.  And some cashew gravy.
Daddy couldn’t resist either.

For dessert:

A beautiful and delicious festive egg nog bundt cake doused in a noggy icing and decorated with fresh cranberries,
(and yes that’s Dad back there in our first ever family blog photo-bomb; haha)

As simple and modest (and so last minute) as it was, it was still wonderful.  Maybe even more so.  With the events that transpired just prior, I think this year’s little celebration was even more meaningful.  It was sad knowing that in the week that followed (in which it was our tradition to visit family in California) there would be those missing from us this year but it made us appreciate and value all the more so our time with those still here with us.

I am so grateful!

For both this past year and the year to come!


Cheers everyone!

And a Happy New Year to all!

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