Bring a little taste of home to your new home
The festive season should be a time for being with friends and family, eating traditional treats and being surrounded by the warm hug of familiarity.
The reality for many who live in a different country to their friends or family is that the festive period can bring the distance and yearning for your friends and family to the fore.
My cure to anyone homesick over the festive period is to surround yourself with your friends’ or family’s favourites, be it food, decorations or outings.
For me keeping the Greek baking traditions is a great healer. The memories of biscuits baking with my late 89-year-old Yiayia (Greek for granny) are vivid. My Yiayia would make 100s of biscuits, this is no exaggeration and distribute them to friends and fill glass jars offering anyone who visited her homemade biscuit with coffee.
My children have learnt to make all the traditional biscuits, in fact just yesterday my daughter said she can’t wait to make melomakarona (an orange and clove spiced biscuit dipped in a honey syrup topped with crushed walnuts).
Your memories may be of always buying a specific brand of something, decorating the tree in a specific way or producing something on the craft front.
Harness the love and time that went into these annual activities and use them to positively reminisce and carry on these traditions where ever you are in the world. These simple acts can help heal the distance you can feel over the festive period.
During the year I’ll often make something that my mom has cooked that evening in South Africa, so when we have a Facetime chat, we can share the pleasure of eating the same dish on the same day, be it 11,000 miles away. This simple act for me somehow negates the physical distance between us and brings us together.
I was chatting to a lovely lady yesterday who was missing her mom who sadly passed away. Christmas can resurrect grief, I recommended making her Mum’s mustard sauce or whatever she was best known for. Somehow this simple act can bring her memory to your table and it does make you feel better.
Keeping up the traditions you grew up with, loved and passing them on to friends and neighbours is a great way to spread your holiday cheer and introduce a new audience to your national dishes. My daughter’s friend now only makes our Kourambethes (Greek Shortbread) as her default shortbread recipe!
I hope you are inspired to share and make a recipe, craft or keep a tradition going for loved ones far away or sadly no longer with us; it really helps to curb the homesick feeling.