What are your holiday traditions?
As a child, it was Midnight Mass, all of my grandparents and great-grandparents at our house, getting to open "just one" present on Christmas Eve, and the home made candy. Especially my Gram's peanut brittle and divinty and fudge. Those are the things that you get once a year and they bring back special memories.
As an adult, I bake every year. Occasionally, I make some of my Gram's candies. This year the divinity and fudge are done. Every year, though, I make a recipe that was handed down to me from my mother-in law. It's a Polish walnut roll that John's Nana used to make.
I never met the woman whose recipe I make every December. She passed away when John was in high school. I've heard wonderful stories about her, though.
I was lucky enough to know John's grandfather. Everybody called him Saik, short for Saikowski, which was his last name. He was a giant of a man. Big in stature with a huge heart. He taste tested my first few attempts at the nut rolls, and since they seemed to pass, I kept at it.
So, here I am, lot of years and hundreds of nut rolls later. I didn't grow up with them, or the family that introduced them to me, but I can't imagine what my life, or my Christmases, would be like without either of them.