Thursday, November 8, 2012

Parenting Tips: Heritage Dinners

By Deborah Pace Rowley

Soon it will be time for Thanksgiving and Christmas and lots of gatherings around the table. One of the things that I love about the holidays is sharing my heritage with my children. My grandfather Walter Seiter, my mother's father, emigrated from Germany as a young man and Christmas was always a special time in our family filled with yummy German foods and German Christmas songs. I loved all the German traditions of my childhood: the advent wreath, the marzipan, setting out shoes for St. Nicholas. As soon as I got married I knew that I wanted to pass on these same traditions to my children.

As an eager young bride, I asked my husband about the traditions that existed in his family.
I soon learned how different our backgrounds had been. Imagine my surprise when he couldn't think of a single tradition he wanted to share. (Men, really?) This just meant that I needed to look a little bit harder to find traditions from dad's side of the family. The picture above shows my husband and children around our Christmas Eve table just after we had broken our traditional English crackers. The paper crowns were one of the prizes we found inside. Since my husband's ancestors were from England, I knew that this would be a perfect tradition for us to enjoy each year.

No matter what your background or history, I hope you will consider adding a little bit of heritage to your meals this season. Whether you have to search to find the recipes and traditions to include or whether they are right in front of you, don't forget to pass them down to your children. Learning about their ancestors will enrich our children's lives (and our grandchildren's lives) for generations.

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