FROM THE DESK OF EXTENSION
University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension Dodge County
Kucios, latkes, Japanese Christmas cake, panettone, tamales, and saffron buns. What do these delectable dishes have in common? They are Christmas foods from around the world. One of my favorite family traditions, for nearly 30 years, is sharing an international potluck meal with my extended family. My parents started this tradition as my brothers, sisters and I started our own families. Creating a new tradition as we outgrew our childhood Christmas traditions, was something my parents embraced. We tasted foods and learned about Christmas traditions from Ireland, Spain, Italy, Cuba, France, and the list goes on. Our new “International Christmas” was not what I grew up with and yet this new tradition seemed to infuse the old traditions with this new tradition. As we celebrated, we created new memories, shoring up all that was good about our childhood traditions even though the International Christmas celebration was so different.
This new tradition was a way to create unique and special memories for everyone in my family. Each year the grandchildren picked a different country and the adults would create a feast where we would learn about the world, as we tasted the traditional Christmas foods from around the globe. The year we celebrated a Slovakian Christmas, my sister had a foreign exchange student staying with them from Slovakia. The year we celebrated a Costa Rican Christmas, one of the nieces was studying abroad in Costa Rica and could not be home. Now we have adult children adding to the feast by bringing yummy dishes. Although my parents have passed, the tradition lives on.