Friday, December 2, 2016

Apples in my Chicken Salad--

Traditions and stories make sense to me. They make everyone feel safe and loved and like it's going to be alright. Not to sound too Hamilton-y, but in a world that feels turned upside down to me, family traditions make me understand some things again. Like oh yeah, these simple little imperfect things we do are important, they ground us and connect us and remind us that it's good to tell stories and laugh.

Even though I think traditions are important, I really try to not put too much pressure on us. They don't have to be perfect. They don't always have to go according to plan.

Years ago, my dad's mom who we called Granny was making chicken salad for lunch. So the story goes, she had a lot on her mind, she was distracted and kind of going through the motions. At one point she looked down and realized she was cutting up apples in her chicken salad. She laughed and thought about throwing it out and starting over, but instead she served the chicken salad anyway and she and her family laughed at her mistake. (This was way before we knew that apples in chicken salad is kind of a gourmet/Pinterest-worthy recipe idea!) After eating the apple filled chicken salad, they decided they loved it and they made it that way forever. And told the story forever and laughed a lot.

Apples in my chicken salad reminds me of my Granny and her kitchen and her laugh (she died when I was 6 years old). And how sometimes things just come together, and how stories are good and laughter is good.

Apples in my chicken salad is how I approach traditions around the holidays and really always with my family. From trimming the tree to Elf Night to the Advent Calendar to special holiday plates we use at dinner, I want the traditions not to feel too forced and kind of come together imperfectly, make a good story/memory and provide opportunities for lots of laughter.

Our Elf Night--a dinner full of waffles and marshmallows and candy; candles and paper snowflakes; an elf naming ceremony; and then watching the movie Elf. It's my fav night of the year.

We have added some holiday traditions (like cutting our tree down and Elf Night) and we've had to change some or let some go (when JT was diagnosed with Celiac disease when he was 3, some baking traditions stopped, Gluten Free gingerbread houses are expensive!). And woah, traditions with teenagers are interesting (not necessarily the lovefest they were when they were preschoolers), so we've updated some like watching Elf and not getting mad if they are a little moody or melancholy during the Advent sharing circle at dinner.

Someday my kids may tell the stories of the traditions they loved doing as kids and how annoyed they were with other parts, but they will have stories to tell and memories to laugh about. And maybe when their worlds get a little upside down, the traditions and stories and memories of love and laughter will help them know that it's going to be alright.

We got the perfect tree. We named him Peppers (the last name of a University of Michigan football player, lol).

Our elf Keith Babu, a former WWE wrestling action figure, is pretty buff. We sometimes forget to move him. And sometimes we forget to be the tooth fairy and Keith comes to the rescue. I love magic.


  1. Ha! Keith B. shaking down the tooth fairy is hilarious. <3 your stories.

    1. Your "shaking down the tooth fairy comment" made me laugh out loud! :)