Christmas Eve Clam Chowder Holiday Meal

Ellen recalls a family holiday tradition that she learned from her grandmother. This tradition is one that has been in her family for generations, but her earliest memory of this tradition is around age four, while growing up in Lafayette, CA.

She says, “My grandmother would always make clam chowder on Christmas Eve because her family was originally from Wisconsin. They were British Americans. And the clam chowder was both a reflection of the region and the clams that could be found off the east coast of the United States, and also you had it o Christmas Eve because it was a modest meal, and Christmas Eve was supposed to be a night of piety and some restraint. It was a precursor to the Christmas roast and extravagant meal for that day. My mother continues the tradition today by always making clam chowder on Christmas Eve.” When I asked her what she thought about this tradition, she said quite surely, “I will do it with my children.”

Familial holidays like Christmas tend to bring the family together from all parts of the world, and traditions during these holidays help to maintain a sense of familial identity. I believe the Fehr Clam Chowder tradition serves to help maintain a sense of identity as well as a sense of morality year to year.