This is the first post in a weekly series, “Little Holidays,” where a few of our contributors will share some of their holiday traditions with you. We hope it helps put you in a festive mood and may inspire some new traditions to share with your own family.
I am a bit of a strange choice to kick-off our Holiday Traditions series because honestly, we don’t really have that many. I grew up in a family that didn’t celebrate Christmas and my husband isn’t religious or close to his family. So now that we have kids, we are basically starting from square one. It’s liberating in a way, we can do things any way we want! But with experimentation there’s always a risk…
Our Holiday Table
There was the year when I read about the Sicilian custom of the “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” Awesome. My husband is part Sicilian and we both love seafood. It was fabulous but I can’t see myself wrestling with an octopus again with two toddlers underfoot.
One dish that will definitely make it to our holiday table is lumpia, which is a Filipino version of the Chinese egg roll using a thinner wrapper. If you haven’t had it, you need to immediately make friends with a Filipino grandmother or with someone who has one. Lumpia shanghai is the version we favor (recipe) If I can’t convince my mom to make them, I rely on the friendly folks at Kaibigan at 962 E. Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach.
When the weather outside is frightful, my husband and I like to warm up with a steaming mug of Glogg. Glogg is a mulled wine (a spiced, fortified red wine served warm) and the experts at Glunz Family Winery in Grayslake and Long Grove make a delicious one that makes for a wonderful gift for your holiday hostess or a certain blogger at Little Lake County (wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)
Our Holiday Adventures
But the holidays are not just about food. No matter how or what you celebrate, this time of year is about spending quality time with those you love. So we downplay the gift-giving aspect and prefer to play our part in boosting the economy by planning special outings with the kids. Since my oldest is only three we are still exploring, but here are a few events we have enjoyed in the past:
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival – While the festival may be over, you can still head downtown to enjoy the lights, sights, and sounds of Christmas on Michigan Avenue.
Wonderland Express at the Chicago Botanic Garden (see Eva’s review) – Going on now through January 1st.
Breakfast with Santa at Lamb’s Farm – Final days December 17 & 18. Call (847) 362-5050 now for information and to make reservations.
Home for the Holidays
While we do like to be out and about during the holidays, we have tried to put personal touches on our celebrations at home. One tradition we have started is to let each child pick out their own keepsake ornament each year. When both kids are older, we hope to be able to talk about each ornament as we trim the tree, and ask them to share some of their favorite memories of Christmases past.
I have my sister to blame for this next tradition. She decided that every year she was going to buy the entire family matching sweaters, which we would then of course be forced to wear on Christmas day. Needless to say, there has been lots of eye-rolling. This year, we will miss out on both my sister and her silly sweaters as she has recently moved overseas. I’m already starting to feel nostalgic for those sweaters…
Hope this reminds you to keep your loved ones close to your heart this holiday season, whether they be near or far.
Warmest holiday wishes!