Family heirlooms often make people think about jewelry or fine silver. However, the heirlooms that I treasure most from my grandmothers don’t belong in either of those categories. In fact, neither of these heirlooms has any monetary value, but the emotional value for each is priceless.
From my maternal grandmother I have an etched glass sugar bowl and creamer. I used to store them in a cupboard to keep them safe. Then I realized that my grandmother would far rather that I use and enjoy them than let them sit on a shelf. I frequently use the creamer as a vessel for a reduction or sauce that I serve at a candlelight dinner for my husband and me. I know that she would appreciate that we take the time to have an intimate dinner for two on a weekly basis and that we use items from her kitchen as part of it.
From my paternal grandmother I have her recipe for Irish soda bread. Honestly, I don’t remember ever eating her soda bread, but I know both she and her sister made it, which led to a debate over whether to include caraway seeds. Every St. Patrick’s Day, I make corned beef, cabbage, and her Irish soda bread for my family and a pair of good friends. I know that she would love that I continue to use her recipe and share it with others.
If I think about it more deeply, there are many more of these heirlooms: a condiment dish from my great-great grandmother, a recipe for chrust from my great grandmother. Many of these items come to mind at holidays, such as the chrust, which is made at Christmas.
As you think about upcoming holidays and special occasions, keep your family heirlooms in mind. That special recipe or hand-me-down serving dish could be an important part of the occasion. Also keep in mind, that the celebration you hold now could be the inspiration for someone else’s heirloom in the future.
If you’re seeking inspiration for your holidays, don’t forget that we have a special occasion publication, Holidays Helper, which can provide you with some great suggestions. We’ll leave finding the heirlooms to you.