The Roaring PJ Blog

Favorite Holiday and Christmas Traditions from our Roaring Pajamas Family

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By Melanie Yunk | December 20, 2016

As we wrap up a fantastic - and sometimes frantic - 2016, our team reflected on some of our favorite holiday and Christmas traditions. Those big, little, crazy or seemingly silly practices and routines that we bring back year after year. The family traditions and customs that remind us of past holidays and the best part of the season, spending time with loved ones and caring for others.

Many holiday habits revolve around food, and our team’s favorite Christmas traditions prove no exception. Of course, given Roaring Pajamas’ digital marketing origins as an organic outcome of a gourmet food business, we found it particularly fitting that we all shared stories of food!

Among many Christmas traditions, Gretchen’s family bakes cookies and her children make their own gingerbread houses every year. Her mother is Norwegian, and each year she makes krumkakes for the family. Similar to a crepe but baked in a krumkake iron, which has a beautiful design, krumkakes are then rolled to make a delicate cookie. Sweet, light and delicious, krumkakes remain a family favorite. Gretchen and family carry on another Norwegian tradition, offering a smorgasbord for Christmas Eve. A smorgasbord includes salmon or gravlax on toast with creme fraiche, capers, dill, sweet mustard and onions; pickled herring; lots of different types of cheeses; and whatever else others bring. On Christmas morning, Gretchen serves "Christmas Casserole," an egg, bread and cheese casserole dish. Interestingly, both she and her husband grew up with that casserole, so it fits to pass it along to the next generation. During Christmas day, the family participates in yet another Norwegian custom; a large pot of warm oyster artichoke soup sits on the stove and family helps themselves when they are hungry between breakfast and dinner. Sounds delectable, no?

Kelly and family enjoy tamales every year for Christmas Eve dinner, then start Christmas morning with her family-famous “Christmas Morning Hash Brown Quiche.” It’s a secret recipe, so we will all just have to imagine how amazing it must taste! A turkey dinner for Christmas evening rounds out Kelly’s food festivities. We also love her family’s Christmas tradition of watching the movie “Christmas Vacation” while trimming the tree. It is such a deeply ingrained tradition, in fact, that one year they postponed decorating until they could find the movie! Good thing on-demand video arrived on the scene; they won’t have to put off their holiday decorating ever again.

A San Francisco Bay Area girl, Wendy and family appropriately enjoy cioppino for dinner on Christmas Eve. Cioppino, a fish stew created in the late 1800s by Italian immigrants who settled in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, provides a warm and easy make-ahead meal. Her family serves it with warm sourdough bread and a large salad upon returning from their traditional Christmas Eve church service. Christmas morning typically includes a large breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs; a flurry of gift unwrapping; and Facetiming with relatives on the east coast. Christmas dinner sometimes includes turkey or ham, but they also make it a tradition to sometimes be non-traditional on December 25. We will see what this year brings to the table!

Last but not least, my family food festivities always include pierogi, kielbasa and turkey for our traditional Christmas fare. My family is Russian, and we grew up with my Nana's homemade pierogi. As an adult, I purchased them from my aunt who made them every year at the Orthodox Church in Stamford, CT as a church fundraiser. More recently, I found Millie's Pierogi in Massachusetts. They ship pierogi and kielbasa nationwide that taste just like what my Nana used to make. Our favorite flavors are cheese/potato and prune, if you can believe it! My mom enjoyed prune pierogi for dessert when she was a child, so we happily continue that habit. And, the best part of pierogi? They're baked on a bed of butter and caramelized onions. Oh, my! I can hardly wait for my Millie's order to arrive on my doorstep this year!

My mouth is now watering, how about yours? Time to start working on those holiday grocery lists!

From our Roaring Pajamas family to yours, “Cheers!” We wish you wonderful holidays, joyous times with family and friends, delightful continuations of meaningful holiday and Christmas traditions and - of course - scrumptious food! See you in 2017!

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