I have never really talked to my immediate family about our extensive history. I know we come from somewhere in Europe--I think Poland, but it has never been a huge part of my life or anyone in my family's. Our traditions are not centuries old, we do not practice any religion or celebrate any holiday because that's what our ancestors did. Instead we have our own traditions, our own stories. They haven't been passed from generation to generation, but have been such an ingrained part of my life that is feels as though they had. The most standout tradition would be our love of gingerbread men. It is not just a holiday thing for us, but all year round (though our extensive collections of Christmas decorations are all covered in gingerbread men). We have the cookies all year round. My mom, aunt, cousin, and I bake them together, decorating them however we please. Gingerbread cookies have become symbolic of my ties with my small family. Even if we aren't bonded by a century old story of our ancestry, we are bonded by those afternoons baking in the kitchen--a tradition I will carry with me for the rest of my life time.
– Shelby Jordan