The house is filled with smell of my cornbread dressing and my husbands pork dressing. It’s cooking day. We always have to have both the Southern and the French Canadian dressings. Is that a battle or a melding of cultures?

Through the years we’ve settled on certain things that have become our family traditions. Christmas Mass. Family gatherings. And, we must have both cornbread and pork dressings. If I have leftover turkey (a problem this year since we won’t be doing Christmas in our house) the leftovers from the pork dressing and turkey must be turned into pie. We’ve been through “traditional” roasted turkey, smoked turkey and deep-fried turkey – so that one is open for discussion even after 33 years… but it’s turkey – not pork roast, or beef roast. It may include duck — but only as an adjunct to turkey. I’ll miss having leftover turkey of my own. Something is missing.

As I think of Christmas, it becomes clear that Christmas is a joining of many things. The joining of God with humanity in the form of the Christ child. The joining of the Deep South with New England. And this year, with a new daughter in law, the joining of more families. And any piece that goes missing is just that: a small hole in the fabric of the season. Even if it’s just the missing leftover turkey.