Erinne Kennedy’s Deep Fried Holiday Traditions

In Style by Erinne Kennedy, DMD, MPH

What are your holiday traditions?

What do you think of when you think of family holiday traditions? Maybe you think of driving through the neighborhood and looking at the Christmas lights, making cookies with your grandma, peppermint hot chocolate, ice skating, or a candlelit service on Christmas Eve. Or perhaps you watch football with friends, travel south of the equator, or read a favorite book.

I think that we all find comfort in holiday traditions because they are predictable. We know exactly what to expect, and we find comfort in the known. The known people, the known place, and the known time. The known seems tangible around the holidays, and I find that reassuring. A few years ago, when I was in my mid 20’s I realized that I was an adult. But more than that I realized that all of the known holiday traditions that we had in our family felt different. We didn’t have little kids running around the house any more. We were all in different places. What used to seem known and reassuring, now seemed disconnected.

My holiday dysphoria

As usual, I went to my Dad to talk about my feelings. I didn’t know exactly what to do or if this was a normal part of growing up. I tried explaining that I found that the holidays didn’t feel the same any more. The spark that we all felt around the holidays didn’t seem to be there. A few weeks later, I was back home for a school holiday, and it was Christmas Eve. We went to a wonderful Christmas Eve ceremony at our local church and headed back home. Our big family party was the next day, so we had much to prepare.

Before we started these preparations, my dad brought out platters of frozen, hand-cut French fries and our fryer. The next thing we knew, we had all eaten about 3 potatoes worth of French fries while watching Christmas movies and laughing. In fact, I have never looked forward to the taste of French fries more in my life than I do now.

Tradition is rooted in love

Fried food on Christmas Eve may be unconventional, but holiday tradition isn’t about convention. I have also learned that tradition isn’t about the known people, place or time either. It’s really about knowing that you are surrounded by love. And so, if you were to ask me today, “Erinne, what is your favorite Christmas Tradition?” You could say that my favorite tradition is love, fried or not.

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