How food connects us to family for the holidays

Making food together that honours happy memories—or creates new ones!—is a beautiful way to ground your family during a busy holiday season. Here are a few simple ways you can add meaning to your holiday celebrations through your family recipes.

Think of your kitchen as a time-travelling machine. For many of us, a single taste of a beloved dish can take us back in time to wherever we were the first time we enjoyed it. And during the holidays we get to re-visit our happiest memories of loved ones through food—whether that’s by making gravy the way your grandmother always did (while debating with your siblings about how it’s really supposed to taste) or starting up new food traditions together as a family.

One easy way to do this is simply to spend some time with your family recipe books and your kids! Talk about what recipes your children associate with your family celebrations, or with the people they love. Incorporating these dishes into your holiday cooking is a beautiful way to add meaning to your holiday table. The meals you choose don’t have to be fancy—for lots of us, some of the most cheering family foods we can imagine are dishes that our parents or grandparents prepared for us when we were not at our best. So, if mac and cheese is your comfort food, or honey lemon tea reminds you of being taken care of by your mom, take the time to enjoy those foods together with your kids this holiday season, and pass some of those good memories along.

Talk to your relatives to discover family recipes they love or miss—you might find the perfect gift for them this year is just to make a batch of their favourite family food for their freezer, so they can enjoy a taste of happy memories whenever they like. Or, gift them something new and delightful from your family’s kitchen to theirs—we have lots of fun ideas here.

If you don’t have a family recipe book, it’s time to make some new memories together—head to our recipe archive and see what strikes your fancy (we can even help you get started on a printable recipe book). Another way to jumpstart new traditions and discover new recipes is to invite friends and family to gather for a casual meal. Try throwing a pot luck and ask everyone to bring a dish that they hope will someday remind everyone of them (or, even better, a dish that honours someone at the party!). While lots of holiday parties tend to be evening-centric, if your family includes young children, you might actually find breakfast or brunch is the easiest time to gather over a meal. One of the best gifts the holidays give you is the chance to linger over a meal like breakfast, so get your morning off to a bright and friendly start with a leisurely brunch and catch up with your friends—try some of our favourite breakfast ideas to get started. And you don't have to limit yourself to friends and family—here are five ways you can build community through sharing a meal, so that togetherness from the holidays will last all year round.

Once you’ve assembled some recipes you love, make sure they’re collected in one place for future celebrations! Here’s how to make your own family recipe book. And if you’ve resolved to make 2019 your year for family meals, we’ve got some helpful ideas to get you started making some wonderful memories together:

What family recipes will you be making these holidays? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook or Instagram feeds.

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