Did you have a good Christmas? Were you able to spend some time with friends and family? Did you survive the umpteenth retelling of that embarrassing story from your childhood?

I hope the answers to all of those questions was “yes.” By the way, that embarrassing story really has aged well!

I was thinking about traditions in the days before Christmas when my wife and daughters were busy in the kitchen devising a game plan for the meals and treats for the family gathering. Traditions are rather polarizing things, always have been. There are those who believe that strict adherence to traditions is the glue that holds families and society together. Others believe we need to lighten up about these things and be open to new ideas.

I think I fall somewhere in between. Like many young people, I rebelled against any and all things familiar. As I aged, becoming a husband, father and grandfather, I grew to appreciate and endorse the traditions of my family.

In fact, I have become an aficionado of the past. I love to watch old movies on Turner Classic Movies, enjoy tried and true recipes of my family and my wife’s family and enjoy listening to the old holiday classics when radio changes its format in November. Viewed through my nostalgic lenses, I think 1940 would have been a pretty good Christmas, just before World War II.

Of course, I realize there was the Great Depression, diseases and a lot of injustice going on as well. I’m observing the era through the movies and music and think it was pretty cool. But I digress…

One of the challenges my wife and daughters faced this year was how to present a meal that honored traditions without making my daughter sick. My oldest has to be gluten and dairy free since a diagnosis this fall necessitated the change.

Thankfully, the internet has made gathering this information very easy and stores are beginning to carry items to help persons with dietary issues. In an afternoon of consulting the family recipe books, Pinterest and other websites, a plan was devised and executed.

I’m glad to say they did a great job. We enjoyed two meals on Christmas Eve and everyone had something they could eat without doubling up on the number of dishes on the menu. There were also plenty of baked goodies as well that fit the bill.

In the end, the food was secondary to the company, like it should be each and every year. I imagine that some new traditions will be created along the way. Hopefully in years to come they will be enjoyed almost as much as that embarrassing story.

As we get ready for a new year and new decade, I hope you all are able to embrace the past and the present in your daily life. There’s something to be said about honoring where you came from while being open to new possibilities.

As great as the good old days may have been, there’s always something new that can be just as awesome. Besides, if you aren’t open to at least trying new things, you could easily miss out on something you want to have be a part of your life.

Happy New Year!

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.