By Marilyn Baron
With the holidays right around the corner, I thought I’d share one of my sister-in-law’s family traditions. As a new resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, my nephew doesn’t get to come home very often to celebrate holidays with his family. As a result, he misses out on a lot. So my sister-in-law compensates when her children do come home by making up for lost time and lost holidays.
Recently, her son flew home for a long weekend and the first night of his visit she cooked a turkey with all the trimmings so he’d have a chance to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday he spent working with patients in Boston. It wasn’t November. The next night they had Passover, months after the actual holiday.
I think it’s nice that his mother goes to all that trouble for him.
One of my friends goes all out on Thanksgiving, serving a traditional meal that is literally pumpkin soup to roast chestnuts. The table settings and decorations would do Martha Stewart proud. I’d swear we were on the Mayflower.
Around our house, things are less formal. I make my famous poppy seed and cheese biscuits, my sister Sharon makes the best stuffing in the world and the best turkey too. My mother is famous for her split pea soup. My sister Elaine makes the world’s best key lime pie. My sister-in-law Judy makes her famous brownies. And Judy and my brother Paul always host the celebration. The food is great, and there are always crowds of cousins, relatives and friends. We used to host Thanksgiving in Atlanta, but most of my family lives in from Florida, so it’s easier to fly south for the holiday.
Hanukkah is usually right after Thanksgiving, so we traditionally celebrate both holidays at the same time since we’re all together. Our holiday is held on my brother’s patio overlooking the pool and the lake. In Atlanta, we’d have a roaring fire going.
In my family, the tradition has always been that my father gets one of the turkey drumsticks and I get the other. Now that he’s no longer alive, I’m not sure what we’ll do with that second drumstick this year. Maybe we’ll reserve a seat for him at the head of the table and place the drumstick on a plate at his empty place like the missing man formation.
What are some of your family’s favorite holiday traditions?