The holiday season is celebrated by many through festive decorations, the gathering of friends and family, and holiday food traditions. Whether you have dreams of sugar plums or a plate full of roasted ham, food plays a role in holiday traditions for 83% of people.
Cultural Food Traditions
Holiday food traditions sometimes have their roots in cultural celebrations. The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah often includes traditional foods like latkes and sufganiyot while Christmas traditions in England feature mince pies. Other Christmas traditions include foods like melomakarona in Greece which is a sweet honey cookie, Polish babka which is a sweet bread served on Christmas Eve, and fish served in Sicily. Many cultures worldwide have traditional food to celebrate holidays throughout the year. Coming together to eat these dishes and celebrate is an important tradition for many.
Generational Food Traditions
In addition to cultural foods, many recipes are passed down through generations. Childhood foods are often passed down and provide a sense of nostalgia during the holidays. Preparing recipes that have been part of family celebrations for generations provides a comforting feeling from remembering the past. Around 28% of people say their favorite way to modernize holiday traditions is to recreate old holiday recipes and provide their own touch.
The holiday season is often a difficult one for families struggling with food insecurity. Millions of children who rely on school lunches go without that extra food over holiday breaks. These families will rely on food banks and local relief programs more as a result of their children losing school meals. In addition, this year charitable giving is expected to decrease for the first time in seven years meaning food banks that rely on donations will be facing more demand with less food to go around than in previous years.
Without knowing where their next meal will come from children struggling with food insecurity grow up lacking stable holiday food traditions and may not have access to cultural food traditions that are in some cases religiously important.
Traditions of Giving
Many people see the holiday season as a time to give back and to be grateful for what they have. Creating new traditions with family and friends is a great way to celebrate the season and give relief to those that struggle. Making a new tradition to volunteer at a food bank or organize a food drive can help others to enjoy cultural and generational food traditions that they might otherwise go without. Contacting your local food bank to see what opportunities you have to serve is an excellent tradition to incorporate into your holiday celebrations.
The One Initiative unites C.R. England and England Logistics in the fight to end childhood hunger. Learn more about the work of the One Initiative at oneagainstchildhoodhunger.com.