“Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.”
My husband and I have a holiday tradition when it comes to Christmas dinner. This is a tradition that was slowly developed over time, and that manifested in a very organic way. This is not a tradition that either of us brought with us from our families.
For Our first Christmas together, I’m fairly certain that I made him a Christmas ham with all the trimmings. I made a homemade glaze and adorned the beautiful half ham with pineapple rings, cherries, cloves, and honey. It was a loving gesture I chose to make because of a tradition that I had brought with me from my family (I used to always make ham with my grandmother). It was also a lot of work for a young couple spending Christmas alone together. We were living in California at the time, and both of our families lived on the East Coast. We spent six (maybe seven) Christmases together mostly alone (away from family) while living as a young couple in Los Angeles.
Things got a bit simpler after that first one and we started making easy Christmas meals like Shrimp Alfredo. After all, it was usually just the two of us. Friends would drop by, but not for dinner, and not often for very long.
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, though I think it might have been our first Christmas living together (just under four years into our relationship). I eventually made the connection that lasagna is both my husband’s (then boyfriend’s) favorite meal, and an easy dish to make in advance. In fact, I’ll argue that lasagna tastes better when it is made at least a day ahead of time.
I made him lasagna that Christmas and I don’t think he had ever been happier with a holiday meal.
Ever since then, with the exception of a Christmas where I was super super super sick, we have had lasagna for Christmas dinner. This is a tradition that we also decided early on we would continue when we had children, for one major reason. While Thanksgiving is a sort of “cooking holiday,” where people spend all day in the kitchen eating and snacking (and drinking) while the kids all play together, Mark and I both agree that Christmas is for family time. Once we (hopefully) have children, neither of us wants to be a slave to the stove. We want to open gifts together; spend the day playing with our kids and their new toys; reading them their new books; watching their new movies together as a family.
Lasagna is something that I can make a day or two ahead of time, and leave in the fridge. On Christmas day, all I need to do is heat it up in the oven, serve it with some warm crusty bread and a salad. I’ll put maybe five minutes worth of effort into an impressive Holiday meal that would even be enough food to feed both of our entire extended families.
Though having that family of “someday children” has never before seemed to be such an impossible reality, our Christmas lasagna tradition will still carry on.
Especially this year.
Our last two years have been pretty much crap. 2015 and 2016 both brought equal amounts of infertility depression, even if I wasn’t officially diagnosed with endometriosis until January 2016…and officially officially diagnosed until my surgery two weeks ago.
So despite the fact that 2016 has seemed to be a pretty all around crummy year for most people…pretty much everywhere…including us…this year was also a really big year for my husband and I in one very momentous area.
We bought our first house together. In fact, we bought our first home, ever. Both first time home owners, and both people who never really thought we would own…ever.
So even though we partially bought this house for our “someday” family (which we still desperately hope to conceive), we did buy a home.
Our first home.
Our first Christmas in our first home must include lasagna.
I started to make the sauce tonight. It is sitting in my crock pot on low at the moment (it will cook overnight). Just as you can’t make a lasagna you plan to eat on the same day, you cannot make same day sauce. 🙂
I am planing a post for later in the week about a fertility boosting meal plan, (it’s not a diet, so I won’t call it a diet) and my lasagna this year is going to mostly follow that plan. I’ll be back tomorrow to write a breakdown of my “clean” sauce recipe, and talk more about how I am hoping a Mediterranean diet will help our fertility chances for our next IUI attempt.
What are some of your holiday meal traditions? When did they start, and why?