I ENJOY LOOKING BACK ON CHRISTMAS every year, enjoying memories that revolve around the special season. I rarely spent Christmas in the same place when I lived in the States but this century I've been in Ireland for nearly every Christmas nearly a quarter century, able to walk under the lights of Grafton Street (pictured).
My Christmas traditions have evolved since my days as a teen in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Back then, I would work with my brothers between Christmas and New Years, rotating fresh poinsettias from the family greenhouse to churches, rectories and convents.
We had to empty the greenhouse of Christmas foliage in order to make way for Easter lilies. We used the green company station wagon to run full loads to happy nuns and priests.
For six years in the 80s and 90s, I celebrated Christmas in Germany and walked several Christmas markets in Nurnberg, Frankfurt, Munich, Kaiserslautern, Mannheim, Ansbach, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, and Berlin (pictured).
I love the festive season of Christmas as enjoyed in Ireland. The country closes down no later than Christmas Eve when most of the families buy food for a month. We no longer have a large freezer so our purchasing whims are constrained by the size of the European dimensions of the built-in fridge where we currently rent. We have a tradition of cooking for 10 people every other year. This year, I'm taking the easy way out by getting a pre-cooked turkey from my local butcher. I'm also using my newly acquired spiralizer to create a crunchy salad dressed the way I like it. I'm unsure how my inventive vegetables will play with the carnivores in our extended family.
But I know my home-made cranberry sauce spiked with Gran Marnier will enjoy a loud chorus of approval from grateful in-laws who have always savored its blend of flavor and texture.
[Bernie Goldbach's family tree hails from County Clare, Ireland.]