Old Place, New Tradition

Noche Buena.

Typically those two words translate into dinner at my parents, family, kids, music, a little Sneaky Pete and presents at midnight.

Not this year.

Mom let us know last week that with my dad being sick and with all her stress at work - she just wasn‘t able to prepare a big Christmas Eve feast. For the first time that I can remember, our family wouldn’t be getting together for turkey (sometimes turkey AND ham), stuffing, potatoes, pie, Puerto Rican coquito, dancing and maybe an argument or two. Bummer. Although I didn’t want to miss out on all the food and laughter I realized that maybe this wasn’t such a bad thing. Maybe now I was free to make my own plan and start a new tradition.

My love spends Christmas Day with his father, so he was open to anything I wanted to do. I thought it over...I could cook at my place, or cook at his place, or we could go out to eat. Eventually, my daughter put in her two cents and made the call. We decided to eat at OJ’s. Without reservations. On Christmas Eve. Crazy, right?

We waited in the upstairs bar for about 45 minutes - with cocktails in hand the entire time - so the waiting wasn‘t too painful. The food was as delicious as ever, and as the three of us sat there I realized what a great idea this was. One of my favorite restaurants, my favorite time of year and my two favorite people. Perfect. We went home, opened a gift each before bedtime, put out the cookies and milk and called it a night.

The best part? Left-over raviolis for breakfast Christmas morning! It looks as if my own little family has its own new Christmas Eve tradition.

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