04 December 2009

Christmas Traditions

I want tamales for Christmas dinner. And I can even say it's a tradition. Unfortunately, I've never made tamales, so we might have to experiment a few times before Christmas Eve.

We're not going to be travelling this year for Christmas, not near any family. I was thinking the other day that those two things haven't happened to us often. We ended up flying last year to be with extended family because of a major event happening two days after Christmas, and the two years before that we lived very close to extended family. It does happen every few years- the year in Bishkek, the year middle son was born, one year in Boise, the year in New Jersey. But I can't imagine I made any sort of interesting meal the year we were waiting for the baby to be born, and we probably got a roasted chicken in Bishkek, or went out to eat.

But here's where the tamale tradition part comes in. The year we stayed home in Boise, our neighbors invited us over for tamales on Christmas Eve, and they were delicious. I can handle a completely traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but when the rest of the family is willing to branch out for Christmas, we'll do it. I don't think I'd convince them to go Asian though.

We're trying some other new Christmas things this year too, and I'm liking it.


  1. I've never made tamales either, although I want to & have been thinking about it. :)

    We prefer not traveling for Christmas, and we're really not close to family, unlike nearly everyone else in our town, so even though we're back in the states we rarely spend the holidays with extended family. We like to do Middle Eastern food for Christmas Eve, and seafood for Christmas Day.

  2. There's a cute picture book by Gary Soto called Too Many Tamales about Christmas eve tamale making. I've never made them myself, but love eating them. My mom never felt like cooking on Christmas; we'd get special mini boxes of cold cereal in our stockings so we could make our own breakfast and we'd usually have something like sandwiches for dinner that day.

  3. Tamales for Christmas. Love the idea, but that's just way too labor-intensive for me.

    For years I made chinese food for Christmas. I do a mean szechuan chicken. I wondered later if The Christmas Story movie had something to do with it.

    Then my daughter became a vegetarian a few years back. So for three or four years now we do a simple Christmas Eve dinner of pasta, choices of sauces: red (marinara), green (pesto) and clam sauce. Garlic bread, green salad. Use the pretty dishes.

    The thing is, we're too far off to get together with family, and neither teens nor husband is willing to help prepare the meal. So, it's been good to come up with something quick and easy and good enough.

  4. Foxy J, I love that book. That's the one where the little girl loses the diamond ring in the tamales when helping to make them.

    My uncle's husband made tamales part of our extended family Christmas meal. Another reason to be grateful to him.

  5. We usually make tamales during the season. We've already had the regular version this season so we've decided to try something quite different for Christmas eve - dessert tamales. We're doing strawberry and pineapple.

    Tamales sound difficult but are actually very simple if you set it up assembly line style. It is a fun activity for everyone.