Family traditions help make the winter holiday season magical. Some traditions are deeply rooted and passed down generation to generation, and some are accidental, or made new by the blending of families. No matter how these traditions are created or how old they are, the holidays are simply not the same without them.
VIP asked three local families about their favorite ways to celebrate the season with their friends and families. Whether they’re travelling or staying put, eating mac and cheese or oyster patties, their traditions all involve family, love, and are of course, special.
Tim and Kacy Caboni
As Perry Como sings, there’s no place like home for the holidays, and that’s exactly where Dr. Caboni and his family find themselves around Christmas.
“New Orleans is where I have celebrated Christmas since I was a child. Even living in different cities over the years, making it back home for the holidays is something I have managed to do most years.”
Celebrating Christmas in the Big Easy is also a tradition that his wife, Kacy, has come to enjoy as well. They attend Christmas Eve mass at St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter and then enjoy Cocktails and dinner at a local restaurant.
“While most folks associate turkey or ham with Christmas, in Louisiana, Seafood is king,” says Caboni. His favorite holiday food, which he can only get at home, are Oyster Patties. He describes them as puff pastry shells stuffed with oyster filling.
The Cabonis wrap up their Cajun Christmas by reading the Cajun Night Before Christmas. Reindeer are replaced with alligators. “They have great southern Louisiana names, like Gaston!” says Caboni.
Growing up, Gail Martin, would travel to visit grandparents during the holidays. “As my children were born, the travel tradition stopped. Now that my granddaughter lives on the West Coast, the tradition is back,” says Martin.
The Martins don’t celebrate at the same place each year, but no matter where they are, it’s usually warm. ‘The warm weather makes it special,” says Martin.
Each year, their family most looks forward to Martin’s mother’s special mac and cheese. “She is now deceased, but my oldest son prepares the recipe,” she says. Martin also wraps presents late on Christmas Eve, a tradition her husband started. And before opening those presents on Christmas morning, the Martins round out the holidays with a Christmas morning country breakfast. “Fried apples are the favorite food on the menu!”