Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Traditions

Ralphie Parker’s family wasn’t the first to have their Christmas meal in a Chinese restaurant. The Bakers have been doing it since the 1930s.

It all started with my husband’s grandfather, who was an orchestra leader in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since he always worked on Christmas Eve, the family would join him afterwards for dinner. The only eating establishment open in the entire city was a mom-and-pop Chinese restaurant. They were the only diners (Except for the year that Ralphie’s mom burned the turkey).

The first year that I joined them in this tradition, I thought they were crazy. We had the restaurant to ourselves. Everyone else was home that Christmas Eve. But the food was good and our hosts were welcoming and appreciative. After all, the Baker family was almost large enough to fill the restaurant.

Today, the Bakers are spread across the country. Yet on this Christmas Eve they will all be eating Chinese. So will we. It’s one strange tradition but it’s ours and it feels right.

BTW, these days if we want to get in, we have to make reservations.

Do you have any special traditions? If not, you still have time to begin.


Camille Minichino said...

That's a great tradition, Deb! Makes a great story, too.

The only constant in my family was that we had 7 different kinds of dry fish!

I used to work at the local post office during the season, sorting mail. Maybe that's why I send out so many cards now ... keeping everyone working.

Kathryn Lilley said...

One of my favorite Christmas memories is as an adult, when members of my family were snowed in and couldn't get to where we planned for Christmas dinner. We tromped all over the North End of Boston until we found a neighborhood Pizzeria open. Then we settled down to a festive holiday pizza pie party!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

We always take the family to Benehana's on Hutchinson Island in Florida. (Well, first we have to FLY there, right?) In fact, we love taking our youngest, newest members, and one year had to tie a kid into a chair because she was so small! It's a great tradition. Also, David, Michael and I started buying our tree from the Lions lot. The money goes to charity. It's more fuss than an artificial tree, but...we love it.

Camille Minichino said...

Pizza in the North End ... now you're talking Kathryn.
How about Regina's?