This post is actually related to two things I participate in:
Carole and Kat's Think Write Thursday, and Sprite's Virtual Advent Tour. And as it so happened, both asked us to write about our favorite holiday tradition. I have thought long and hard about this, and I cannot choose just one, or even decide if it's more favorite than another. Instead, I've decided to write about something *related* to a holiday tradition in my family.
Our big Christmas meal was always on Christmas Eve. This was largely because my parents were incredibly social, so Christmas Day, after church, we'd be lucky if we ever got near a meal, between people stopping to visit us, and us visiting others. So about the time I was 8 years old, my parents decreed that our big family meal would be on Christmas Eve.
Something to keep in mind is that it was seldom ever just our immediate family. There were always extra people, friends of my parents who might not have anywhere to be, friends of my sisters who weren't going home for Christmas, orphans from the orphanage where my great-aunt (one of the nuns previously written about) who had no where to go, and I don't know ... just others.
Also, my parents tended to go all out at Christmas. We were relatively poor, but they would take money out of their savings, and use credit for Christmas - both for foods and for gifts.
So that's the background.
One year, my father realized that his Uncle Bill and Aunt Viola would be alone at Christmas for the first time, as both of their adult daughters had found jobs in California and wouldn't be able to travel home. They didn't make plans to go to California, because according to my father, Uncle Bill was "so cheap he would not pay a nickel to see Christ jump off the cross." (Yeah, I know.) So my parents decided to invite them for Christmas Eve dinner. When my mother called to invite them, she told Aunt Viola to feel free to bring anything that was something they generally had for Christmas dinner, and it would be included. Aunt Viola said that she would bring homemade noodles, because they were "Bill Arthurs' favorite."*
Aunt Viola was a good cook (or, as my father said, "Does it just seem that way because you never get enough to eat at their house?"), and the idea of homemade noodles was exciting to all of us, particularly since my mother never really made homemade anything. So we were all looking forward to trying them.
Fast forward to Christmas Eve dinner. Everyone is there, and the table is COVERED with food of all kinds. There's talking, laughing, drinking, eating, and at some point during the meal, Aunt Viola asked my mother about the noodles. My mother responded in a surprised and contrite fashion, saying that with all the people and all the food, she forgot to fix them. Disappointing to be sure, but it's not like anyone was going to go away hungry.
Only after every single person but our immediate family had gone, did we learn the truth. Aunt Viola arrived with a small baggie of homemade noodles - enough for a serving for Uncle Bill! My parents said there was no way in the world (well, they said it more colorfully) that they were going to cook a single serving of something for one person. My father claimed this was further proof of their cheapness. My mother pointed out to us that, "Well, it *is* your father's family."**
So we never did get the homemade noodles. But to this day, whenever we eat our Christmas meal, I think about those homemade noodles, which have become holiday legend in our family. We'll sit down to eat, and even The Tim will say, "Oh, I forgot to cook the homemade noodles!"
The Tim and I have a tradition of a special Christmas Eve meal, and then a special Christmas Day meal.
But sadly, neither includes homemade noodles in any amount ...
*Our last name was Arthur. However, Aunt Viola always referred to Uncle Bill as "Bill Arthurs."
**My mother was from a small family, and had cousins rather than siblings. So she enjoyed pointing out to us the failings of my father's family. :-)
P.S. If you want to sign up for the Virtual Advent Tour, go here. It's fun and there are still some slots left!