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blog 5 Easy, Fun Holiday Traditions for Black Families

During the holidays all mamas are looking forward to a few days off of work, some snuggle time with their families and, if you’re lucky, a little fun.  One way to add some consistent fun time to your holiday season is to start a family tradition.  Just like any other day of the year, holidays can become routine and lack-luster if you don’t spice it up every once in  awhile.  Traditions are give your kiddies something to look forward to every year and something to brag about to friends when they ask what they’re doing for the holidays.  Here are five easy and fun ways you can add a little traditional flare to your holiday season.

1. Ancestral Cookie-Making

We all love to believe that even though Grandma Jones passed away, she’s still looking down on us.  She’s still guiding us and offering a gentle whisper when we need it.   Why not help your children understand how important she was to you by making some cookies in remembrance of her influence?  It doesn’t take much.  Just make cookie dough like you normally would.  You can use cookie cutters or a knife to shape them in leaf patters, or evergreen trees or pumpkins.  Then just put the name of the ancestor on the cookie.  It’s really easy and you can talk to your kid’s about your great-grandmother while you make the cookies.  Kid’s love cookies and Grandma Esther will be saying a special prayer for you from her heavenly seat as you enjoy you’re new tradition.

2. Support a Black Business

This is something I’ve wanted to do for awhile.  Find a black-owned business that is open during the holiday weekend and just support.  Get there the same time and same day every year and buy something.  If you’re in Pittsburgh, there’s Ujamaa Collective in the Hill District, The Gallery on Penn in East Liberty or Le Maison Du Paix, a beautiful Bed & Breakfast in Penn Hills.  Just pick a business and support.  Each person can buy something or you can make a singular purchase for everyone to enjoy. Whether it’s a new album you can listen to while wrapping gifts or a piece of art that you hang as a family each New Year’s Eve.

3. Grandpa or Dad’s Favorite Life Story

Storytelling is such a rich part of African history and an area of art where African people are superbly gifted.  Find the storyteller in your family and put he or she to work.  This should be easy since family storytellers are most easily recognized by their inability to be quite.  In my family that would be my dad.  He’s always talking and acts out the stories when he’s telling them.  The kids will get a kick out of it and while the adults will grow to know every story your family storyteller has to tell, it will create fond memories for them to pass down to their children.

4. A Family Food Contest

Who makes the best cornbread? Who makes the best mac n’ cheese? Well you’ll never know if you don’t have a contest.  Pick one dish and have everyone make it.  It doesn’t have to be a whole foil pan just a small sampling for the judges to taste.  Let the elders in your family be the judges, since they’ve had more years of tasting food and let each family, or individual, taste the dish.  Then pick a winner.  This can be a super fun family tradition.  You can buy a prize for the winner, pick a new dish to make every year and it’s a good way to make sure the elders are having fun.

5. Make a Holiday Meal Together

This is a tradition my family is starting this year.  We are all gathering together early Thanksgiving morning and making our dinner as a family. Everyone will put their food in their backpack cooler and head on over to my house. Since my family is very woman-centered this should be lots of fun.  Everyone can pitch in $10 to buy the food and pick two ambassadors to go out and purchase the dinner.  For African women, cooking together goes back hundreds of thousands of years.  This tradition can rekindle bonds between sisters, aunts and cousins. I’m so looking forward to making a family dinner with my family. I hope you can enjoy one of these traditions during this holiday season.   Do you have any traditions you’re family enjoys?

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