This is officially the first holiday season that I celebrate without my family around. I was avoiding the thought of it since I moved to Washington, but I knew as soon as Thanksgiving rolled around that I was going to have to face it. As much as I consider Brandon and my pups my family, I’ve really started to miss my family back home. My family is not perfect, in fact, we are quite dysfunctional, but we have traditions that we celebrate every holiday season.
A few of the top things that come to mind are:
- The smell of a pig roasting in the back yard– As a non-meat eater I feel guilty admitting that I miss the scent of roasting carnage, but it’s a tradition in my Cuban family. I don’t eat meat all year, but I’ll admit that I make an exception for Noche Buena.
- Old school merengue and salsa music– Think Tito Nieves and Celia Cruz. Oh and I can’t forget the remix of Mi Burrito Sabanero, which is always sure to get everyone dancing.
- The desserts– I’m not talking about your run of the mill Christmas cookies and cakes here. I’m talking about the homemade flan and specialty desserts that are only available for the holidays at the Spanish grocery stores.
- Loud Cubans– They’re annoying. They always sound like they are arguing. Well, because they usually are. But I miss them.
- Noche Buena– This is the special night that brings it all together– December 24th. It’s not called “good night” for no reason. It’s a time to unite and celebrate with all of our loved ones around.
Sadly, I will not be home with my family this year for Noche Buena. It sucks. I’ve been sulking about it for the last few weeks until about a week ago when I watched the mid-season finale of This is Us. Which by the way, I’m obsessed with this show and if you are not watching it, get on it! I won’t spoil it for anyone, but the episode talked about traditions. Naturally, traditions are passed down. They are nostalgic and represent a certain aspect of our lives or a certain time. For me, my family traditions represent my childhood. Although they don’t feel the same as when I was 10, they still remind me of the good times I had when I was a kid.
I think a key part of adulting is starting your own family traditions. It’s hard for me because I feel like I’m breaking the rules, but now that I live across the country from my family, it doesn’t matter. This is why I’m starting new traditions of my own in my new home. As much as I miss my people this season, I’m really happy here surround by little family and some really great new friends too!
My NEW Christmas tradition will include:
- Binge watching Christmas movies on Christmas Eve– I love Christmas movies and every year I complain because I don’t get to see them all. This year will be different. I’m determined to cross them all off of my list.
- Decorating Cookies in our Christmas PJs– True story: We all (including the dogs) have Christmas PJs. This year we’re going to wear them and decorate cookies. Obviously, the dogs won’t be decorating, but I’m sure they will be taste testing instead.
- Going to the movies on Christmas Day & eating Chinese food– After partying all night after Noche Buena, I never felt up to going to the movies on Christmas day. There won’t be a big Cuban party in plans this year, so Brandon and I will be joining a few of our friends for a movie and Chinese food! I’m sure it’s going to be a blast!
Christmas is still a few days away and I know that life has a funny way of throwing curve balls. Who knows, I may add more traditions that I’m not expecting to my list. Either way, I’m ready to accept change while enjoying the rest of the holiday season.
Do you have family traditions that you miss? Have you started your own family traditions? What are they? I’d love to know what makes the holidays special for you. Let me know by commenting below.