By: Abby Muresan

Christmas Eve Meal In Poland
Italian Feast - Culinary Hill

As snow begins to fall around us, I am immediately in the Christmas spirit. I absolutely love Christmas and its chaotic state. My article is about the traditions that are a part of my family’s Christmas not only as Americans, but also Italians and Romanians on my dad’s side and Polish on my mom’s side. 

Christmas Eve:

Christmas Eve is where it all begins. We head over to my Babcia and Dziadzia’s house, who are my Polish grandparents, at around 4pm. I get to see my aunts, uncles, and cousins from that side of the family, and we all wait impatiently for the meal to come. My Babcia cooks a large variety of pierogies, fish, bread, pickles, and so much more. But before we eat, we pass around holy unleavened bread with a bit of honey on it. We go around breaking each other’s bread as a sign of unity and connection in the household. Then, it is time t0 eat. As our stomachs are all filled with pierogies, we make our way around the couch. The Christmas tree is lit brightly in the corner of the living room. Our younger cousins pounce onto the millions of presents they get, while my siblings, my older cousins, and I wait patiently for our gifts which are mostly money. We always have a wonderful time and leave my grandparents’ house full and joyful. But, the night isn’t over. My family and I make it back to the house and relax for a bit. But then, it is time for midnight mass. This is a tradition that my mom has been doing since she was little. So, we make our way to church and enjoy the celebration. Then, once we get home, we leave some cookies and milk out for Santa and head upstairs. We all rustle around in our sleep antsy about the day to come tomorrow.

Christmas Day:

Our brother, Max, runs around the house waking all of us up. My sister and I tend to sleep in during break, but not on Christmas day. We get up early and run downstairs to see the gifts under our big, lit tree. We grab a bite to eat really quickly and it’s present time. We always begin with our stockings hung on the fireplace. There is Christmas background music blasting throughout the house. We begin opening our presents and have a joyous time. Our dogs even get some new toys or bones. Then, we begin to get ready to have family from both sides flood into our home. We eat a big feast with a range of Polish, Italian, and American food. We all talk about our new gifts and feel incredibly happy. 

Day after Christmas:

The day after Christmas starts off slow until we head to our Italian and Romanian Grandparents house, our Nana and Papa. We head over there and see everyone from all around the country. We have so many cousins on this side of the family, and it is always a good time. We all come together from different jobs, colleges, and high schools to celebrate Christmas. My Nana makes the best Italian Wedding Soup, and we enjoy a big feast of delicious homemade pasta. 

New Years Eve/New Years:

A couple days after Christmas, my immediate family and I travel to Florida. My cousins, aunt, and uncle from Columbus also head down to Florida as well. We stay at my grandparents’ house when we arrive. It’s a nice place, and it’s empty when we get there. Both families squeeze into the house and have an amazing time under the sun for a couple days. Later, we travel to somewhere less isolated for New Years Day. We usually find a resort in Naples, Fort Lauderdale, or Fort Myers Beach during December 30-January 1. We then all head back to my grandparents’ house for a couple of days before we head home. That’s the end of the most chaotic but best time of the year in my family, and I can’t wait for it. I look forward to it each and every year, but this year I am more excited than ever. Winter break sounds so nice right now, and I think you all can agree. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year.