I remember the orange in the bottom of my stocking, the Mexican hot chocolate whizzing in the blender, mom cracking the eggs like musical instruments against the butcher block and sizzling them with bratwurst, dad squeezing the orange juice...
I remember sitting out on the warm brick patio, or by the fireplace (we always lit a fire despite the normally warm Los Angeles weather), my mouth watering in anticipation. I remember discovering the merits of freshly cracked pepper as it met with those sizzled eggs. I remember vowing to never turn back from pulpy orange juice.
In the decades that have passed, our family has moved across continents and thus our Christmas traditions have changed. Last year mom and I scrapped it all and spent Christmas in the Bahamas at a yoga retreat. But this year she's visiting us, and she's brought a touch of that Californian warmth, and some Christmas kitchen traditions too.
This year we'll be in my house, probably re-inventing some of those traditions, adapting to the change that is inevitable in any family. But you can bet the Mexican hot chocolate, the juice and the eggs will be on the menu. Some traditions are worth holding on to.