holiday baking stock.jpg

As we approach the holiday season, I find myself reflecting on past gatherings and the stories that have been shared. In many ways, the holidays provide a deeper understanding of the stories of my family and what it means to be me.

A couple years ago, I decided to make pierogies on my own for the first time. While I knew how to make the dough, the filling wasn’t so easy. My mom, aunts and grandma all taught us the proper consistency of the filling by taste and texture, therefore it isn’t a simple ratio or even this many pounds equals this outcome. Yes, that’s right, pounds.

When we get together, we make hundreds of pierogies to last through the holiday season. Sometimes we didn’t make enough. Due to this, I was left having to guess what I thought would be the appropriate amount of ingredients for a much smaller batch.

The feeling of making them alone was also significantly different. You don’t realize how much you miss that large kitchen table, or 16 hands, until you don’t have them. I felt quite accomplished when I was done, and I felt closer to my family, not just the living.

Like many of us, my ancestors immigrated to the United States. My mom’s family arrived only a few generations ago, so we still have a lot of recipes. As I was making my pierogies, I couldn’t help thinking about the women who had come before, and I wondered how many generations had made the same dish. Had they taught filling consistency the same way? How would they react to the generations that came after them?

This is just one of my family traditions that has been passed down. I wonder what yours might be. While some traditions might have deep meanings, others might simply be fun. You may even have a few that are brand new.

Whatever the meaning, I encourage you to share your family stories. Write down your cookie recipes for your grandchildren. Tell your kids your favorite holiday memories and the important events. Include the next generation so they learn to cherish these traditions as much as you do. Through sharing we can keep our family stories alive.

I sincerely hope that this holiday season brings each of you a sense of closeness to the ones you love.

As we enter the season of giving please consider what ways you may be able to support local nonprofits. It has been a difficult year for all. Our holiday wish is to continue to serve our communities to the best of our abilities.

Mikayla Larrow is executive director of Museum at the Bighorns.

Recommended for you