Cherishing Traditions – Old & New

The holidays have always been a magical time for our family. Coming from a big Italian family, I remember my parents, my sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles and my cousins gathered at a huge table with my Nonna at the head. I remember copious amounts of food, laughter and most importantly love and happiness. I remember the Sunday’s leading up to Christmas when my mom, aunts, cousins and my sister & I would spend the afternoon baking cookies and traditional Italian sweets like Crostada, Panettone and my Nonna’s special apple pie. I remember walking into her house and immediately feeling the warmth of her love by the smell of her food and the joy and pride she took in preparing it. I’m blessed that these traditions continued well into my late twenties and I cherish the memories and reflect on them often. Especially now that I have a family of my own, I want my girls to feel what I felt as a child and as they grow, remember the love and magic of the season to share with their own families years from now.

My Nonna was the glue that held our family together, as I imagine many of you reading this can think of your own matriarch or patriarch. After she passed, many holiday traditions did not feel the same without her, but more pointedly each of our families started to change. As the next generation, we all started having our own children, shared our holidays with our significant others’ families and a few of us moved away. Forcing us to accept that change is good, knowing the memories will always be in our hearts and giving us the ability to create new traditions with our new young families.

For our family one of the major changes in our life happened late last year when we relocated to the Bay Area. Like many that have relocated to this area, we came from a different country, not familiar with the area and not knowing anyone, which was scary and lonely especially during the holidays. To help lift our spirits during the holidays, we relied on our old family traditions coupled with creating new ones like driving through the mountains to find our perfect Christmas tree, watching the tree lighting on Pier 39 in San Francisco, catching one of the many community holiday parades, driving through the Festival of Lights at Vasona Park and most importantly simply enjoying being together and making new memories in the place we now call home.

Whether you’re a long time resident or have recently relocated, we hope this holiday season you and your family can take some time to disconnect from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the magic of the season. Take the time to focus on old family traditions and create new special ones, as they will be the memories that your children will hold dear as they grow.

Wishing you the best of the season!

Some local activities to help brighten your holidays include:

About Shannon Hebert

Shannon lives in San Jose with her husband and 2 children. She is a lover of coffee, wine, food and travel. Her family relocated to the Bay Area from Canada in 2014 and since then, have taken every advantage of exploring the area and all that there is to see and do. For ideas on where to explore, visit, eat and have some family fun, you can follow their adventures on Instagram @hebertsincali