Seeing that it’s Christmas week, I’m not focusing much on the world of agriculture. Instead, I find myself thinking back to some of the various traditions my family has celebrated over the years.
For example, my family never really celebrated Christmas on Christmas Day. Instead, Christmas Eve was the big meal/event, when all the presents under the tree were opened and enjoyed. Christmas Day was a time to reflect on the season and recover (especially if one “celebrated” a little too much the night before).
There was also the midnight Christmas Eve church service. Of course, as a child, I never could stay awake this long. But once I was a little older, I remember how beautiful the church looked lit only in candlelight and how wonderful the choir sounded in perfect harmony.
In my teen years, my one grandfather remarried. His new wife and her family always had the tradition of setting an extra place at the dinner table “for the stranger who might need of a meal.” I always thought this was a bit odd, but one Christmas Eve, my step-aunt had trouble getting into town because of the weather. When she finally did arrive, a kindly stranger offered to give her a lift to our home. Because the weather worsened in the meantime, he ended up staying with us that evening as “the stranger in need of a meal.”
A few years after I was married, my wife and I started hosting the family Christmas Eve celebration. Our contribution to the event was a special food – Cream of Chestnut soup. That first year, we had to blanch, shell and peel the chestnuts by hand (which took a good four hours!). Thankfully, since then, some stores now sell already prepared chestnut meats, so making the soup has been reduced to an hour or so endeavor.
So whatever your Christmas traditions might be, a special food, special service or time-honored tradition, I wish you a wonderful and joyous holiday from everyone here at CropLife!