Ask Nonna: How Do I Keep Family Traditions Alive?

Everyone knows an Italian grandmother will keep your plate full — but she can also be trusted for some much-needed wisdom. That’s why we've asked Italy’s renowned pasta queen and Airbnb Experiences host, Nonna Nerina, her advice on everything from holiday hosting to ghosting to all the ways you’re ruining your pasta. Buona lettura!
Dear Nonna,
My family is one of the reasons I love the holiday season so much. We reunite, eat our favorite foods, and have tons of silly traditions. However, as my siblings and I have gotten older, and no longer all live close to our other family members, we all seem so stressed this time of year. It’s getting harder and harder to keep traditions alive. Do you have any advice for how to carry on family traditions over the years? And since you have quite a large family yourself, what are ways you make time for one another? 
A Sibling In Distress
Sweetest sibling, 
You are always so busy! We all are. Such is life. But holiday time should be the moment to focus on yourself and your family. Traditional activities are a way to simply bring everyone together. And it’s okay if those activities change a bit over the years.
For example, when both of my parents passed away, my siblings and I sat around a table to discuss the inheritance. My parents had a small nearby home with a field. I asked my siblings to give that home to my only sister who had moved away, to give her the possibility to come back whenever she wanted.
Our main family tradition is now sitting in that home, our childhood home, and laughing. We still laugh for the same reasons year after year. We sit there and we remember our dad’s jokes and the way he sang for us. We tell those stories to our grandchildren. This is our best family tradition.
Even when life and schedules get crazy, preparing a meal for someone is a way to express your love. Just like when I was very young and my mom taught me how to make pasta. She was the one who always fed me and my brother and sisters. I will always remember the taste of her recipes. In a way, keeping alive a tradition — be it sharing a meal or a laugh — means to keep alive our ancestors, as well.
Nonna Nerina
As told to Gina Marinelli.

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