When it comes down to it

..I’m totally traditional. Shhhhhhhhhhhh don’t tell anyone, it will totally ruin my street cred.

I’m sitting here after having feasted this Christmas, wine in hand, reflecting on what a total, traditional, happy homemaker I am.

Every year we have kielbasa from Detroit because that is just what you do on Christmas Eve.

I actually buy “Santa” paper just like my mother did before me, so all the Santa gifts have their own distinct Santa face.

We open stockings first, until adults are alive and the coffee is at least dripping.

After the chaos, left-over kielbasa and eggs for breakfast.

(mentally noting it’s always about the food)

None of these may seems like really big deals, but to me…they are HUGE. I can’t decide if that is WEIRD or completely against my nature. I mean, I’m the one who left my hometown. I was always weird. I was always the one who never fit in and always wanted OUT.

Yet I’m the one who gave both my children family names and continue traditions that have been practiced since I was born.

I don’t get it.

I mean, I spend a lot of time fighting against conforming. Well, I do and I don’t. It’s just that I was lucky. I had a warm and fuzzy and happy childhood and I want my kids to have the same.

I was never an angsty non-conformist. I was a happy non-conformist. I always did things differently and I was lucky to have parents that told me “that’s great!” In fact, I distinctly remember trying to come up with one single word to describe me for my Confirmation in 8th grade and my Dad telling me to write “Independent.”

So when I find myself screaming and yelling about politics or parenting or anything in between, it feels very natural. When I find myself DEMANDING we ship kielbasa from Detroit to Los Angeles, regardless of cost, I scratch my head a bit.

Of course this is just one part of my life. There are many other parts that would probably melt your brain they are so very NON traditional. Yet the constants…the things that never change, are as traditional as they come.

I’m embracing it, that’s for sure. As I get older I’m taking more and more pleasure in sharing those warm fuzzies with my own children. With settling into this life with a sprinkle of my mother and her mother and my grandmother’s ways in my kitchen and my home and my mind.

Maybe that’s how we all do it…take the good and rant against the bad. This Christmas I’m thankful the good I keep is in my home and in my heart. The bad I scream and yell and fight about almost always is on tv or in a newspaper or somewhere ‘else’ out there in the big wide world.

“Independent” still fits though, even if I’m currently freezing kielbasa and doing dishes.


  1. “…trying to come up with one single word to describe me for my Confirmation in 8th grade and my Dad telling me to write “Independent.â€Â?…” – Now that’s ironic…

    Don’t feel bad about the kielbasa, I bring back gallons of Tommy’s chili with me when I travel from Cali to Colorado… Family thinks I’m nuts, till they get a craving for Tommy’s chili… Then I’m not so nuts anymore. We all have things that mean “home” to us and that bring us back to the good stuff we came from, it’s only natural to want to pass those traditions on to our kids… not to mention watnting to relive them ourselves.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. I was going to be everything BUT my parents, then I realized I had a perfect childhood. I now do the same traditions and my kids smile! My parents knew what they were doing! I now know I am selfish & my parents weren’t. Eye-opening.

  3. I was the worst kind of non-conformist in high school and my early adult life. I have no freaking idea what happened but once I hit my 30’s, tradition became very important to me. We’ve always been Christmas Eve people when it comes to opening gifts and my husband tried to change it up when he came along…uh, no ;).

  4. I am laughing so hard as I read this post for I feel as though I were staring into a mirror…

    We celebrate on Christmas Eve, as per Danish TRADITION… celebrating Christmas in and of itself doesn’t fit me what with the simple fact that I am not at all religious to begin with and, in fact, quite not the fan of organized religion….

    But Christmas was always in my life and something that was near and dear to my Danish grandfather’s heart and it involves much torture.

    I remember the looooooong wait as a child for the eve of Christmas Eve to arrive but did that mean getting to the gifts? Nooooo!

    First, we all had to dress up, sit at a formal dinner table with the whole clan and take our time with dinner… then came dessert… then some more waiting as we had to dance and sing around the Christmas tree and FINALLY time to open up the gifts… but even that NEEDED to be dragged on as we took turns reading off the gifts, handing them out and waiting for the recipient to open the gift as we all ooh and aah, clap and then move on to the next gift…

    And so last night found us four, alone, the kids whining and BEGGING for gifts since morning and Loverboy dared suggest that I give them one gift, just one, to hold them over until the evening and I FREAKED OUT! I attacked the man and a whole, rambling lecture about Denmark (where I lived for only one year of my life), my grandfather and tradition flew out of my mouth and culminated into an explosive fight with the man… we made up in time but MY GOD what happened?

    I feel for ya sistah and yeah, I’ll go with Independent too!


    Merry Christmas my dear!

  5. Tradition is a wonderful thing. This evening we were at my parents’ house, all the aunts and uncles were there, and we put in the home video of Christmas 1989. And there was Grandma Alice, dressed in her holiday best, making the kielbasa and kraut, and potato pancakes — and all the ladies were in the kitchen. The men in the living room, watching football, the kids in the playroom…. I started to cry so hard I could barely breathe. I miss Grandma so much…I wonder where all the time has gone…

    And I realized, nothing has changed since 18 years ago. We still gather together, we still have the family Christmas. It’s a beautiful thing. This is what it’s all about. (That and the birth of Baby Jesus of course!)

  6. just wanted to pop in and say merry christmas. hope the kielbasa is as good as you’d hoped. 🙂

  7. I thought you were the Queen of Spain? shouldn’t you be serving tapas?

    Still, hope you had a great Christmas!

  8. Do you have a 13 fish Christmas Eve dinner?

  9. Hey there! Just catching up after a crazy week.

    I think being a non-conformist and wanting to your children to have roots and traditions are not mutually exclusive. But I’m on a sugar crash right now, so I could be wrong.

    Kielbasa’s not so bad…could be lutefisk!

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