I recently visited the Chapman website and saw the new caption promoting Chapman as one family with many stories.  I found it uncanny how this coincides with my recent involvement in planning a district-wide event for all Santa Ana Unified school district families.  It was an affair where over 300 people came to share their stories- stories featuring their traditions, family treasures,

Rene and his siblings, Breana and Anthony

Rene and his siblings, Breana and Anthony

and recipes.  They were happy to engage in table conversations related to the family winter project sent home over winter vacation.  The project outlined conversation starters that promoted family dialogue and collaboration.

It was heartwarming to see children sharing stories about traditions and cherished artifacts.  One child, Rene Olivares, shared this:

One of our family traditions is to make tamales on Christmas Eve.  The recipe originated from my great grandma but I’m pretty sure if came from my great, great, great grandma.  My grandma is the one that makes the tamales but we all help out.

All my family gathers at my grandma’s house the morning of Christmas Eve to help her make tamales.  We all help, whether it’s to prepare the dough, soak the corn husks in water, or put the meat in the tamales.  We make 3-4 different kinds:  beef with red chile, chicken with green chile, strawberry and pineapple.  My favorites are the chicken with green chile.

My grandma says this is one of the recipes she treasures because she learned it from her mom.  We don’t feel it’s Christmas if we don’t have tamales.

The best thing about this tradition is that all our family gets together and participates in keeping alive this tradition.