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Holidays with multicultural families

This holiday, like many others we will be gathering at my mother-in-law’s to celebrate the holidays. The crowd that gathers there for Christmas is just as colorful as the lights strung outside on the roof, ranging from various generations to different , and foods.

For years the tradition has been for the entire family and our families’ family to gather and celebrate these holidays, with an abundance of food and holiday cheer. We all pick a dish we wish to contribute with and once everyone arrives the gigantic feast commences.  Together we are a very diverse and multicultural mass of people.

Throughout the house you can smell roasted turkey, the Christmas raviolis, Sochivo (a Russian dish) and the aroma of a lamb curry boiling away on the stove among other delicacies.

It’s almost impossible to carry on a conversation between the clinking of the glasses before drinking to a toast that may be yelled out in Russian, , English or . The feast goes on for hours and as the day progresses everyone somehow manages to understand each other even though in some cases there are no languages in common.

We later exchange gifts that have messages and greetings in various languages and at times do need translations.

Eventually, desserts and coffee are passed around, soon falling into the unavoidable food coma that every year is present at this point in the family reunion.

Slowly parents gather their sleeping children and load them into their cars to return to their quiet home, but not before affectionately saying their goodbyes and merry Christmas. The elderly are helped down the steps of the porch as you hear the squeaking wheels of their walkers down the driveway.

As is custom, we generally are the last to leave helping out with the tidying and as a prize, our multicultural platter of leftovers. We get into our car and drive away as we greet our neighbors with a Happy Hanukkah.

Merry Christmas, Shub Naya Baras, Buone Feste Natalizie, Feliz Navidad, Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom to all.