Holiday Tradition–Stress and Fun

The holiday season is usually a pretty wild one for most families. Ours is no exception to this standard rule.

Thanksgiving is past. Yahoo. It went fairly well. The sister of my sister-in-law (that also makes her a sister-in-law, right?) had a minor accident on the way to our house. Thankfully she arrived safely. More importantly, her Mac and Cheese arrived without any issues.

I enjoy having family over, and I dread it all at the same time. Smile

Coming up is Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinner. Christmas Eve is a really great event in that we finally get to catch up with some of our cousins and their families as well as some really close friends. I usually spend the day before preparing by cooking a million pounds of pork and grinding it up for tamales. I also and cook up a million gallons of green chili. While everyone is over and doing the rest of the tamale preparation on Christmas Eve, I usually make about 12-15 dozen tortillas. Once the tamale preparation is done, I then spend the entire night cooking the tamales. Last year, we decided to make some changes so that I get to sleep now. We only cooked two batches, which is about 20-25 dozen tamales, and sent everyone home with some cooked tamales and some uncooked tamales that they could cook at home later. This was a great idea last year.

This year, there will be some more changes. Between my wild work schedules and my back killing me the last few years from all of the kitchen work, we have decided to spread the preparation load out a little bit and take some short-cuts. This year, my Mom and Sister, and my Sister’s kids will be responsible for cooking and grinding up the pork. The scary part is that we will also go with store-bought tortillas. While not having to make the tortillas will save my back, I just don’t know if it will really be the same this year. I am going to call this part an experiment.

Of course, there will be other changes as we have additions to the extended family and we will be missing others that have moved away or have other obligations. My nephew, Taylor, is going to miss this year as he will be away serving with the Marines. We will miss him, but I am also going to remember him fondly. I am pretty proud of Taylor and the sacrifices he is making. We will all send him our best wishes and prayers for him and his new family.

Why do we do it? Well, it is tradition. I remember being a small child and spending time at my Aunt Toni’s house with my family and my cousins making Tamales. After several years and some family arguments, my Uncle Max (who I found out was really named Mac) and his family took over the process and my family went there. After some family restructuring (it is a nice way of saying divorce), we took over the process at my house and have been doing it for several years now. I really value this tradition. I really value this little bit of time that we get to spend together as a large extended family. In fact, I wish we could get more of the family to come over and participate.

I am blessed with a great wife, two wonderful sons, great in-laws, and a house full of laughter every holiday. This tradition is a great way to share our blessed lives with others, and I hope we can keep it up for many more years.

Anyone want to join us? You are invited, too! However, we will put you to work.

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One Response to Holiday Tradition–Stress and Fun

  1. Scott says:

    Russ, you’re a great guy and we all love the Christmas Eve event but it’s an unimaginable amount of work for you. I’m glad you’re finally spreading the work around. If there’s anything I can do before coming, let me know (although I’m only in town starting the 23d). I’m going to try and be there but no guarantees.

    You should consider the pre-made uncooked tortillas at Costco (I know you guys NEVER buy anything there. You might need a membership). They’re nothing like yours but they’re pretty darn good.

    It’ll be good to see the kids. I’m amazed that Taylor has gone off like that. I can’t believe David will soon be off doing his own thing too. When did you get so old?

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