Let’s face it. As much as we all love our relatives, those first few minutes of a big family gathering can be awkward – especially during the holidays.
Often, we’re gathered in a fairly small room with people we haven’t seen in a long time. Perhaps not since the last round of holiday gatherings. And although we share a common history,we don’t always know much about each other’s day-to-day lives.
In my family, we know just how to bust through those moments of uncomfortable silence: it’s called the cheese and cracker tray.
As soon as the majority of us have gathered, my mom bursts into the room and says, “who’s ready for a snack?”
The answer, of course, is everyone. And soon we’re all busy opening boxes, slicing cheese, and arranging festive napkins.
Bottles of wine are opened.
The first fizzy drinks of soda are poured for the small fry.
Dog noses and tails are batted away.
Before long, we’ve all picked up a plate and are chatting happily about the deliciousness of the offerings – whether they include the first delicious slices of sausage from a Hickory Farms gift basket or tortilla chips loaded with seven layer dip.
That, in turn, leads to talk of holidays past, and of the antics our smaller selves engaged in.
Soon after, we’re reminiscing about sled rides down carpeted stairs, mashed potato sculptures at the kids’ table, and ice cream soup.
After balance is restored, we’re able to transition back to present day, talking about kids and jobs and friends and all the other small things that make up our lives.
By the time the evening is over, we’re right back where we used to be, a solid, strong family. We swear to keep in better touch this year. To gather at least a few times between major holidays. To barbecue and blow candles out.
We probably won’t.
But that’s okay. We know we love each other – even if we don’t manage to see each other much.
And next year? The cheese and cracker tray will be there to bring us together again.
Hickory Farms, of course, knows all about holiday traditions and about how food can bring a family together. They’ve been making gift baskets that do just that for more than 60 years.
I’ve got a Hickory Farms gift basket sitting on my kitchen counter right now.
I wish that I could share it with my family this Thanksgiving, but the Indiana branch of the Page clan is staying home this year.
So instead, we’re going to start our own cheese and cracker tray tradition. There won’t be any awkward silences, but there will be gourmet cheese and sausages from Hickory Farms served on festive plates and eaten with joy.
Which is exactly how Hickory Farms foods should be consumed – it’s what they pride themselves on.
Want a Hickory Farms gift basket of your own? Well, you could log on to HickoryFarms.com or visit a kiosk at one of their 700 kiosks and retail locations across North America.
Or…you could win one. Right here.
I’ve got a Home for the Holidays gift basket stuffed with four kinds of summer sausage, six cheeses, two types of mustard and two boxes of crackers to give away.
All you’ve got to do is tell me what your favorite food-related holiday tradition is…anything else is extra credit.
I’ll be choosing a winner on November 29, 2012.
Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review and to facilitate a giveaway. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms.