What Tradition Means to Me

This is the time of year that we all start thinking about traditions. My cousin visited from Sweden a couple of weeks ago and as we talked about the holidays it became clear that we share traditions as well as blood. Her visit made me realize that some traditions aren’t completely unique to my household and that sometimes things that seem perfectly normal to me can be very strange to others.

One traditions that my cousin and I share is our holiday decorations. When I was little I always thought that our minimalistic holiday displays were just easier than the tour bus worthy displays of our neighbors. I now realize that our decorations run much deeper. In Sweden you an find any number of houses to match ours. There are streets full of houses that have a single candle in each window and a star above the entry way. This is a tradition handed down from my Swedish grandfather and it is something that too me a long time to fully understand.

The swedish traditions also extend to the baked goods seen in my mothers kitchen. A couple weeks ago I mentioned saffron bread and ginger cookies. Both are typical celebratory snacks reserved for the Feast of Saint Lucia, and both are typical snacks for the holidays. Our tree is trimmed with traditional Swedish straw ornaments.

My fathers side of the family has also contributed to our holiday celebrations. The Barnaby’s spend every Christmas Eve decorating our Christmas tree which is taken down on New Year’s Day. This is also the only way to guarantee that all of us will be able to participate in the process of decorating. This is great since none of us live in the same house or state anymore.

We have also created some of our own traditions throughout the years. For dinner on Christmas Eve we always have seafood. Our crab cocktails and cakes have improved greatly since my parents moved to Washington and started catching their own crab. For   breakfast on Christmas Day  we always eat bagels with cream cheese and salmon. I’m not entirely sure how this one started but it’s something we all love and there is never any discussion about what we are going to have for Christmas breakfast. We then end the Christmas festivities with a fairly generic turkey dinner, which my mother insists on making pretty much from scratch.

Traditions are different in every household and they have a way of bringing us closer together. As the years go by I have gradually drifted farther away from my family. That is the simple nature of growing up. As we age the brightly wrapped toys are replaced by useful things that are desired no less than the frivolities of childhood, and traditions hold strong.

Happy Holidays




Holiday Cheer From Me To You

I know that I’ve fallen off the bandwagon and haven’t posted an actual book review in quite a long time. But adulting tends to get in the way of the things we do for fun. So I just want to say thank you to all of my wonderful readers who have liked my work even though it hasn’t had a whole lot to do with books lately. I am having a wonderful two weeks off with my family in Sequim, Washington. We decorated our Christmas tree today and are about as relaxed as we could be. My dad is picking crab meat for our Christmas Eve dinner and my brother is napping on the couch. I hope that you are having a relaxing holiday no matter what you celebrate this time of year. May your celebrations be stress free, and your relatives a little less frustrating than they were last year. And if you aren’t with your parents and siblings for the holidays, just remember that family runs deeper than blood. If you’re at work may your coworkers be cooperative and if you’re alone may your cat be cuddly. Wherever you are I hope your holiday is joyful! Happy Christmas! 

Molly Barnaby

Secret Santa Day 4 Update: I’m Set For The Rest Of The Year

So not too long after my first post of the day I was bombarded with gifts from my honors kids, including: homemade fudge, peppermint bark with a Starbucks gift card, a jar of candy, a monstrously large Ghirardelli gift basket, and a to-go mug that says “I Can’t Adult Today”. It’s like they can see into my soul! I definitely tell them how hard adulting is at least once a week. I also promised my girls that I would wear the Ghirardelli bow in my hair tomorrow with my red dress. I feel so loved right now!


Secret Santa Day 4: You Can Never Have Too Much Yarn

My Secret Santa has struck again and it is once again perfection. Today’s gift was three skeins of yarn, two British themed bookmarks, and bag of chocolate. I’m super spoiled and am starting to think that the gifts I gave my Secret Santa aren’t as great as I thought they were when I bought them. Oh well! I also received a new mug from a student, who rather aggressively stalked into my room handed it too me and power walked out. From my fellow 8th grade English teacher I received a pink and grey infinity scarf and a new tube of eyeliner. (This is particularly nice because I didn’t have time to do my makeup this morning lol). Overall I think that it’s time for me to up my gift giving game, so I can get on their level!


Secret Santa Day Three: Movie Night!

Another successful secret santa day! A movie snack kit complete with three packs of popcorn, a pack of original M&M’s as well as Peanut M&M’s. I sort of love the old timey packages of the candy. I’ll have to have a friend over for a movie night! I cannot wait to find out who my person is. This week has just made me all the more thankful for my amazing coworkers. I am so thankful for the staff and the students that have helped me love my job again. Special guest: Sootie Barnaby (the green-eyed, black floof in the photo).


Secret Santa Day 2: All My Favorite Kinds of Sugar

My secret santa knows me so well (even though I wrote down my favorite things on my secret santa form). I don’t buy sugary things for myself very often so this is a particularly special treat! My favorite candy, Reeses, and two bottles of my favorite soda, Dr. Pepper! Thank you!!!!

Today is also the the Feast of Saint Lucia. It is a Swedish tradition that on this day that Saint Lucia is celebrated with a girl wearing a white and dress with a red sash and a crown of candles. So in honor of this Swedish Holiday, have some ginger cookies or saffron bread.

Secret Santa Day 1: Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

At work we are doing a secret santa gift exchange. Every day this week we deliver a small gift to our randomly assigned coworker. On Friday we also include a toy to donate to Toys For Tots. My first gift of the week is slightly perfect. I haven’t always been a coffee person, however since my cousin visited from Sweden last week, my coffee consumption has sky rocketed. She adores coffee and because of this my daily intake west from one or two cups a day to three or four. I even purchased a coffee grinder and Aeropress coffee maker. Todays gift could not have been more perfect. I have also received gifts from some of my kiddos and coworkers. I am so happy to be surrounded by such positive kids and generous co workers! 😀

May I present Secret Santa Day 1!