Family Traditions

Posted by kathy stanton on

There are plenty of things that distinguish one family from another, one neighbor from another. That’s why our traditions are so important. Because they help bind us together and give us a sense of belonging in our community and in our family. Traditions new and old create strong family relationships between generations and serve as an avenue for creating lasting memories for our families and friends. 

In December we invited our customers to share their favorite holiday traditions. I was especially touched by this story from Patty Walcha. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do:

“My husband’s family has a strong German heritage and many of the Christmas traditions, lights and decorations originated in Germany. One of our family’s most important traditions is to enjoy Stollen, a German Christmas Bread, during the holidays. My husband’s grandparents owned German Bakeries in the Los Angeles area and would always make Stollen for family and friends at Christmas.

Despite many attempts, nobody in our family could master the art of making this special bread. At my husband’s urging I knew it was important to try to make Stollen myself with Grandma Walcha. I did so when I was pregnant with our second child. I spent all day with Grandma Walcha who was 84 at the time and my great Uncle Alfred who was 86. Grandma was worried about my strength and health, but I assured her I was fine.

I took twelve pages of elaborate notes. Four days later Grandma Watch suffered a massive heart attack and passed away. When my mother-in-law learned at the funeral that I had made Stollen with Grandma, she suggested that we make it again with my notes while the entire process was fresh in my mind. The Stollen turned out exactly like Grandma Walcha’s. For the last 45 years my husband and I have made Stollen every year at Christmas for family and friends. We have expanded the baking from 12 to almost 50 loaves each year, all in one day from dawn until almost midnight.

For the last four years our two grandchildren, Sophia now 13 and Josh now 9, have made Stollen with us and we are sure they will carry on the tradition. The fact that I was motivated in 1972 to learn to make Stollen shortly before my Grandma Walcha’s passing was almost like Divine Intervention. The tradition continues and I believe traditions are tremendously important because they bind family together. Thank you for allowing us to share stories of our traditions.” 

Thank YOU Patty, and Dear Grandma Walcha!


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