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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Oyster Stew

When I was a kid, my mother always made oyster stew for Christmas Eve. I loved it! Of course, I never did eat the oysters. I only ate the peppery milk and butter broth—topped with approximately two cups of soup crackers. So this year when my mother said she was going to make the stew again for Christmas, I became nostalgically giddy. And I made a decision. I would try the oysters.

 Beyond feeding and caretaking, I always believed one of my responsibilities as a parent was to ensure a spectacular holiday for my kids...just like mine always were. Of course, this meant buying them too many gifts to open on Christmas Day—the theoretical climax. But beyond the plunder of wrapping paper, my intent has been to create traditions to forever stamp their hearts. I want them to remember the time we spent decorating the house. Or toasting with sparkling grape juice and sickening ourselves with gooey Rhodes rolls. Or rushing madly to take a picture in front of the tree before Mass. Or our annual retreat to the board game closet.

Few might agree the razzle of holidays tend to veil the true meaning of the season. Celebrations have evolved into lavish decorations, food marathons, and gifts designed to exceed expectation. The desire to buy more and do more has become practically instinctual this time of the year. But it doesn't have to be that way, as we all know. A few well-placed traditions, instead of a fiery hoverboard, is what really brings us true comfort.
When I bit into the oysters on Christmas Eve, I can’t say I had much reaction. They were fine. A little slimy. I didn’t mind them, because I mostly savored the milk and buttery broth–which reminded me of my happy childhood. And much like my opinion on the the oysters, it’s not the gifts that make Christmas. It’s the broth, or the traditions that surrounds us during this time. That’s the part I love most.

Happy New Year's everyone!

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