The Ghost of Christmas Past

Arriving on the heel of the Christmas Eve seafood extravaganza was the day for which we had all been preparing.  The smell of meatballs basking in Filippo Berio, eggplant parm in the oven, veal cutlets waiting on the meatballs to vacate the olive oil laden fry pan, antipasto, ravioli as well as all the American traditional holiday fare were signs that Christmas had arrived.  The aroma of garlic was imbedded in every porous surface of our small five-room flat.   Of course Santa’s sleigh had tipped over our living room where my sister and I, in the wee hours, tore through every Barbie accessory known to man.  With all the toys, new clothes and gold chains, my sister and I chomped at the bit for the best part of the day.  The most exciting, highly anticipated event  would be when all my aunts, uncles and cousins would march into the house demanding a dish of macaroni (not to be confused with mac & cheese).

We ate from one end of the house to the other.  My father had inevitably invited some stranger to dine with us. Everyone would look down to the end of the table and say who the f*@#k is that?  We were so lucky to have had three grandparents, our great-grandmother and great-uncle at the Christmas table until my early twenties.  The older generation only spoke broken English, a mix between Sicilian, English and Bostonese: “Heyya, who’sa the cavona downa dere?”  After everyone got over the weirdo at the table, it was time to settle our coulos (bum, ass) into the throne where we would spend the next several hours eating course after course.  Many of our family friends would stop by from early evening into the night filling the house until it split at the seams.  Just when the brioschi (old-fashioned remedy for heartburn) was working,  my mother would clear dessert and re-serve whatever could be placed in a spucki (that’s delicious Italian bread, by the way), cutlet, ham, turkey & capicola sandwiches for everyone!

We ate and laughed, ate and laughed all day and night.  We always played a game like Trivial Pursuit where my grandmother never wanted to play, but yelled out every answer from her end of the table.  Those were the days.  No matter how bad things got throughout the year, Christmas with my cousins was the summit of joy, peace, love, safety and the ultimate crack up.  My husband and four boys left Boston for the land of milk and honey, the bible belt, that is.  We now spend Christmas with dear friends and decadent rib roasts. We may even enjoy Christmas dinner out at a fancy hotel on occasion.

If only my grandmother could see and experience the life I live today.  She would be shocked, maybe even disappointed that there’s no lasagna or cannolis.  Today, I have help with keeping up the house and live the American dream.  So why the tears this Christmas?  I long for Christmas past with my cousins and endless hours of talking and laughing with the only ones who understand what it all means to me.   I guess I just miss my family.  Maybe it was just easier when my mother handled all the details of Christmas while my sister and I just had to be there to enjoy it all. Thanks to all of you for giving me a place to relive my Christmas past.  Merry Christmas to you all.  May you find the warmth I enjoyed nestled at the perpetual feast of feasts. God Bless!

Tell me what’s going on in your life.  I want to hear from you!

Amore & Baci (Love & Kisses),

Just Steph

281765_576414192375309_1802355261_n IMG_0343 photo_6 photo_7 IMG_0387 302260_301681276512612_174591772554897_1367085_1199034922_n IMG_0370

microphone
Logo
Interested in booking Just Steph?

Contact Steph or call 678.777.5859

All I want for Christmas is…

Tradition, as defined in my iPhone dictionary app, is a specific practice of long-standing and/or an inherited pattern of thought or action.  Basically traditions are those rituals we perform over and over, through the years and pass down to our kids.  We may tweak what our parents did or start new ones.  Traditions are like mac and cheese, comfort food for our souls.  They make us feel safe and secure.  We know what will happen next. The traditions with which I was raised and even those I started fresh with my family make me feel like I am wrapped in a Boston Red Sox Snuggie while lying on the couch watching Jaws for the umpteenth time.

I asked various friends and family to share their favorite traditions with me.

Gigi from Atlanta, GA emailed and said,” What comes to mind for me is that my mom passed on her recipes to me and now I make and share them with my kids.  Holidays were very special at my house and now my kids love the same foods and traditions. In so many ways I feel like my parents are with us celebrating.”

 Natalie from Wakefield, MA responded to my Facebook request, “Here’s something I remember well…..my sister never helped clear the table on any holiday….NEVER
.”  (If you haven’t guessed, Nat is my sister.)

Camille from Peabody, MA, also via FB, tells us about her father’s nuts, “My favorite tradition is my father roasting his nuts every Thanksgiving.  We get the biggest laugh when we have to call him to check his nuts. By the way, he’s 95
.”

Christine from Santa Fe, TN writes in on FB about her Italian Christmas Eve: “One of my favorite memories involved our traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner, known as The Feast of Seven Fishes. We always had family and friends around to share the food, love, and joy of being together. A family friend we called Uncle Walter, always told the same stories every year. We humored him every year as if it were the first time we had heard each one. One year, my brother Ross and I were standing at the kitchen sink clearing things for the next course while Uncle Walter started one of his repeats. We both, simultaneously were able to mouth the exact words he was saying. We could not stop laughing at the fact that we had both managed to memorize his story. For the rest of the evening, it became a private joke between the two of us, and we still laugh about it to this day.”

I also compiled a video of some of my traditions as well as my Atlanta friends.  I hope you enjoy it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Make 2013 a year of self fulfillment.  More on that in the early part of the year.

Tell me what’s going on in your life. I want to hear from you!

Wishing you love, balance and peace.

Amore & Baci,

Just Steph

microphone
Logo
Interested in booking Just Steph?

Contact Steph or call 678.777.5859

%d bloggers like this: