There's a quote that I really like that resonates with me during the holidays. The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.
My mother and father have both passed down certain traditions to me and my brother over the years. These are especially poignant during the holidays when we all gather together.
My mother's Chinese grandfather used to do this with her when she was a child growing up in Ecuador. On the eve of the new year they would put twelve grapes into a cup for each person and each grape represents a month of the year. After the clock strikes 12, everyone eats the grapes in silence and makes 12 wishes. They can also be goals one hopes to achieve throughout the year.
This year I was in charge of putting the grapes together so I separated out the grapes...
and added a little message & reminder for everyone.
Then I put it into a little paper bag and tied it with a bow.
Kuromame (sweet black beans) and Kuri (chestnuts)
My dad cooks once a year and that's on New Year's Eve. It used to be much more elaborate, but nowadays he only makes oden.
It's a big to-do. Assorted fish cake, boiled eggs, daikon radish, konnyaku, bamboo shoot...all in a dashi broth. Nom nom.
Mochi all wrapped up which melts after you put it into the soup.
Clarissa picked out a Neko Cup Hugger to drop into her Sparkling Apple Cider.
All lined up and ready to go...into our grumbling tummies.