How One Delicious Christmas Tradition Continues Even In My Empty Nest

A Delicious Tradition

Creamy scrambled eggs, buttery grits, flaky biscuits, our favorite jelly from North Carolina, crisp bacon, sausage (link and patty, hot and mild), cheese, sweet cinnamon rolls, tangy orange danish, Florida orange juice, chocolate milk and hot coffee all served on my Christmas dishes with a snowy Christmas tree surrounded by farm animals.  The smell of sizzling bacon and sausage fills the house and drifts outside when we have to open the door.  This has been my Christmas morning tradition since 1995.  We had one brief interruption in 2019, when we celebrated Christmas in Nashville three days before our son’s wedding.  Other than that year, our Christmas morning breakfast has been a long-standing and much-loved tradition.

It’s been the same breakfast for years but the participants have changed.  It started with my family of four, my parents and my grandmother, until her death almost fourteen years ago.  Our children grew up, went to college, left the nest and married.  A corgi named Higgins used to beg for a bite of bacon under the table, now it’s a labradoodle named Boone.  The past two years, my cousin has joined us as we are his only family in town.

Things Change

Traditions are great.  It’s comforting to have things you can count on from year to year.  But, when you live in an empty nest and your children are married and live in different states, you learn to be flexible.

This year, after we cleaned up the remains of our Christmas breakfast, we loaded up the car and headed to the beach.  We spent Christmas evening with my husband’s sister (my sister-in-love) and brother-in-law. We shared a delicious meal and talked about old times as we watched the sun set on the Gulf of Mexico.  With both of us having grown children, and them having several grandchildren, it had been years since we were together on Christmas Day.  We may be onto something new here.

Don’t worry though.  We still had a fabulous Christmas celebration with our two children and their spouses — just at a different time.  We had our family celebration the weekend before Christmas.  We did all the things: ate yummy food, baked, went to church, made gingerbread houses, wore matching jammies, opened presents, played games and got together with extended family.  We even had our own “Christmas morning” breakfast.

It actually worked out pretty good for me — two Christmas morning breakfasts!  I’m not sure how my husband feels about it as he does most of the cooking. 

Adding New Traditions to the Old

Christmas 2021 was good — a mixture of old traditions and new ones.  While there was still some anxiety about Covid, it was not nearly as palpable as last year.  The most important thing is that we were together and we celebrated the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. The memories of those four days with my children far outweigh any sadness of not being with them on Christmas Day.

How about you?  If you’re an empty nester, how have your traditions changed over the years? What are some of the things you do to keep your spirits up if you’re missing your family? I’d love to hear. 

Enjoy this peaceful week of reflection as we end one year and look forward to another.  Talk to you next year!

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