Yerema Family Christmas    

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This is the place to share family stories and photos about Christmas.

(From Lawrence)
Yes Christmas is Family Time at our place.  Every year for both Dec 24th and January 6th, Christmas Eve Nights, we prepare the traditional 12 dish meatless Supper. Having children as students,  they  always can't make it for January 6th, all the time.  On December 23rd, we always decorate a live Christmas Tree in our family room with the kids.   We always have two trees - one live in family room by fireplace and and one artificial in the living room.  Joanne makes "Kutia" or wheat and all the rest of the dishes and I make the "kolach" thanks to the breadmaker....but i do the braiding and  we eat it on Christmas Eve with the borsch.  We say a prayer around the table and then eat the dishes in their progressive first wheat , then borsch then perogies, holobtsi, wild mushrooms, gravy, mashed beans, etc.  don't forget the wine.   Our parents are always invited to join us.  We sing carols after supper,  beside the lit candles, eat squares and dainties.

    I wanted to share that Mom, the fabulous Heather Skoretz, NEVER misses cooking up all 13 traditional dishes for Ukrainian Christmas on.  It's a tradition that our family has been doing for as long as I can remember.  It takes her about 5 days to prepare all the food, but is it ever worth it.  There are some dishes you only get to savor once a year!  We usually end up setting a table for around 20-30 people every year, because no one of our friends or family wants to miss it! This year Cale's Mom, Brenda will be coming down from Kamloops, BC to share with us this very special Skoretz tradition.  Looking extremely forward to it
Love, Danica

(From Tara)
 Our Christmas traditions involve a combination of things from the Green family and the Shinkewski family. Christmas Eve I make the Ukrainian Christmas Eve meal (I really do!) If we're at mom's I happily eat hers, after helping pinch and roll. I have been known to make borscht (at our house we skip the kutia course), perogies, mushrooms and gravy, cabbage rolls and some sort of fish dish. Then we go to Christmas Eve church service at our church and come home and open one gift (from the Green's traditions). Christmas morning we open gifts, eat breakfast and have a turkey dinner. Growing up in BC we would always go for a walk on the beach in White Rock before the turkey.... but in Strathmore (and in Saskatoon) we have to improvise the beach walking. Lately we have been alternating locations for Christmas: Strathmore, Edmonton (Kyle's family) and now Saskatoon. This year it's Saskatoon! 

I have to admit that I still put rocks, coal, 
onions and garlic in my
kids stockings.

When I was a young boy, oh maybe 10-12 yr's old, Ukrainian New Year; JANUARY 14th was a special day for myself and my cousin and best friend to this day, Danny Kotyk.  It was a morning to get out early and tell everyone that today is a special day  it is a NEW YEAR And We Are Here to Bless You With Health, Happiness and a Prosperous Year wishing a Better Year Than the Last. We had with us a bag of Wheat, it had to be clean Wheat no chaff. Before our greeting speech we would ask to bring the household into the room that we were doing the presentation. Dan and I had the verse memorized and as we were saying it to the crowd we would sprinkle the Wheat on the floor as if we were seeding the wheat.

  Maria we had a blast and I would do it again !!! 
David Skoretz

Here is a photo from the 2005 Ukrainian Christmas Hockey, which was hosted at Sue and Bob's in London.  The annual event involves everyone making a traditional dish, Susan brings bread, Jay desert (paczki in Polish or plum donuts in English), Shane makes his version of Dad's lazy-man's cabbage rolls (e.g. cabbage roll lasagna) and I'm responsible for borsch.  Dad and Mom provide all the proper garnishes 
and 'toasting beverage' and Dad generously picks up the ice-time tab.  Last year was the first year to include our first cousins on Mom's side, Aunt Betty and Uncle Ray's 'children': Carolyn, Heather and Patty (Cameron was absent).




(From Maria)
Christmas is about combining family traditions.  Over the years, Brad and I have combined our two family traditions, along with creating some of our own.  I love to be super organized at Christmas, and like to have my shopping pretty much done by December 1st.  I also try to have my Christmas cards done by then.  This leaves the month of December for fun stuff!  

I start decorating at the beginning of the month, and the first weekend in December is perogy weekend, which means I make perogies, a lot of perogies.  Did I mention a lot of perogies?  I make cottage cheese and potato, and sauerkraut and onion.  One year I tried spinach and garlic, but they didn't go over too well!  

On Christmas eve, we have kind of a Canadianized version of Ukrainian Christmas dinner.  We have the perogies that I made earlier in the month, and we make up cabbage rolls, usually the sour kind, 'cause that is our favourite!  We also have the Yerema family Caesar salad, and sausages from our local sausage maker (he makes over a hundred kinds!).  Brad is an excellent pastry chef, and he makes up several kinds of pie, usually pumpkin, apple, and the special Christmas Eve pie--homemade banana cream pie.  He makes the pie crusts from scratch, and he make the custard from scratch, too.  That pie is so good, he only makes it once per year.  On Christmas Eve, Brad cajoles until we open one present.

Christmas morning, we get up early and open our stockings.  Then Brad makes his family traditional eggs benedict, hollandaise made from scratch.  We usually have some smoked salmon for west coast style.  Then we open the rest of our presents.  Then we have a nap!  We always do up the entire traditional Christmas dinner, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and Brad's family traditional grated parsnips and carrots with butter and honey.  Yummy.  Good thing Brad likes to cook!  We invite friends and family, who ever is around.  After dinner, we drink and play games, sometimes drinking games, listen to music, and laugh.  These nights have been known to go to four in the morning.

A couple of years ago (BE-before Erin), Corry and Adrian had their first Christmas on Vancouver Island.  It was also their first Christmas away from their immediate families.  We told them they were going to have a Christmas to remember!  They came over for Christmas Eve, and then brought their kitten on Christmas day, because they didn't want to leave him alone for too long.  Everyone stayed until 4 am, and we had a really fun Christmas!  Was that me drinking Mandarin Absolut shots straight out of the bottle???