Do you have a certain thing that you just love about the holiday? I do. Christmas Eve has always been my ‘special’ day. As a child, we always spent Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family. Her father, my grandfather was a transplanted Norwegian from Minnesota to Colorado.
A Norwegian tradition is to eat Lutefisk and Lefse on Christmas Eve. Now for the uneducated, Lutefisk is lye cured cod. <shudders> It is no where near as tasty as Gravlax, cured salmon. Lefse is a potato pancake (more like a potato tortilla or crepe) that you roll around the fish, & potatoes with lots of butter, salt & pepper. Up until four years ago, we would have this every Christmas Eve. Personally, I only ate the Lefse with butter and sugar. 🙂
My Irish-German grandmother, always made a ham for those of us, who just couldn’t relish the thought of a just Lutefisk and Lefse meal. And even though you were eating ham, the pervasive scent of Lutefisk seemed to drift up your nose and stay there. As a child, I couldn’t understand the charm of staying around the dinner table for what seemed like HOURS, when there were gifts to be opened. After much wiggling and giggling with my sisters, would the entire family go to the basement where the Christmas tree was and open gifts.
Now I’m the adult. The Christmas Eve meal is hosted at my house. We had the space and the time to host the meal. It also is much easier on the three with allergies! Now I want to linger at the table on Christmas Eve with those that I love. I always fix a ham and some form of cheesey potato casserole. Lutefisk and Lefse have made appearances, but no one seems to relish it the way that my grandfather did. Last year was the first year that he wasn’t with us on Christmas Eve. I want to sit with my family that used to be the eleven of us, now it ranges from 18 to 21, depending on everyone’s schedule.
Christmas Eve is for the big side of the family. Christmas Day morning has become exclusively my family. Christmas Day afternoon with my in-laws, has also become the norm for my children. Watching them enjoy the season, has made me wonder what traditions that they will want for their own families? What will they take from us, and mix with their spouses’ families? I just hope that they remember the wiggling and enjoying each other around the table.