a personal style blog by Lauren Pfieffer

Sunday, January 23, 2022


When I was home in Ohio for the holidays, this theme of lineage and traditions kept coming to mind. 

I think the holidays are perhaps the time of year when most of us have the fondest memories of childhood. It brings about things our parents or grandparents would do for us every year that solidify in our mind and we reflect back on many years, often decades, later. 

For me, it's baking sugar cookies with my maternal grandmother. It was always a multi-day process. 

Creating the dough from a scratch recipe that was passed down from her mother and letting it chill overnight in those big, primary colored Pyrex mixing bowls (funny I now have my own set). 

Rolling out the dough and picking out the shapes from the drawer of metal cutters -- a star, a candy cane, a Santa, and a reindeer (a bitch one to frost with all its little curves). 

Watching them puff up through the glass of the oven and removing them to cool. I was always sneaking one to eat before frosting, to me they tasted best when they were warm. 

Mixing up the powdered sugar for homemade icing and choosing which bottles of food coloring we needed to attempt some colors. 

Frosting with a curved butter knife and turning green with envy over the way my grandma was always able to smooth the icing so perfectly while mine gooped over the edge.

Finishing it all up with the many different sprinkles from my grandma's collection and ALWAYS putting an eye on the reindeer. 

Another thing I really reflect back on is my grandma's tree and the ornaments she put on it. Her living is room small, the tree was always narrow and tall -- the opposite of ours at home. She made magic with the tree, filling it with her snow baby collection and accents of red birds and berries. But the ornaments I always admired most were the old ones. Three stick out in my mind.

The velvet elf with the teal outfit, a sweet smile and full cheeks. A tag with 'made in Hong Kong' on the bottom. 

The velvet reindeer that was red with little white spots.

The carousel that had a little fan that twirled with the air from the heat register came up.

I had my first real tree in Brooklyn this year, a little 4.5 footer bought at the bodega on the corner of Atlantic Avenue right by the Salvation Army. I'd been adamant about finding vintage ornaments for it that could carry on some of that nostalgia and tradition that I felt at home and my grandma knew that. She gifted me this year the prized velvet elf I've loved for so long. I can't wait for it to be the first one I hang up next year.

While I was home, she gifted me something else. Two aprons that my great-grandma Nellie wore when she baked. 

I never met my great-grandma, she passed before I was born, but I'm always told I would have loved her. She was tiny at 4'11" and had 6 children (my grandma the youngest) and loved to bake. My grandma has always said she wishes that she had some of her hats and gloves that they donated when she passed because I would have loved them. ❤️

I picked up baking during the pandemic as a way to pass the time but to also self-soothe during such an anxious time. I'd been looking for an apron to wear during my baking adventures, so having my grandma gift me some my great-grandma wore is beyond special.

I hand washed them last weekend to bake an apple pie wearing one in her honor. You can watch the video HERE.

Honestly, it was emotional thinking about how she wore this same apron and made things for my grandma and her siblings when they were younger, now all in their 70s and beyond.

It brought up a lot of feelings for me. 

One, just the general feeling of homesickness for family and connection. I've been in Brooklyn now five and a half years and I think it's kind of like processing a death. It gets easier, but the sadness never really goes away. Every time I go home, I'm reminded and comforted of what it means to have and be a family. They take care of me and love me. The sacrifices my mom and dad make for me, even at 28, aren't lost on me. 

It also made me think about how easy it can be to forget the generations before us, and that makes me so sad. I don't know much about my great-grandparents on either side and know nothing about my great-great. That's only four generations removed. I am able to be who I am today because of them. I'm sure traits and mannerisms have been passed down to me that I'm not even aware of because I simply don't know. It makes me want to know them more intimately in order to carry on their memory.

Last, it made me think about the own lineage I'd like to continue. I could write multiple posts about my feelings (past and present) about my decision to have or not have children. It's always been a difficult topic for me and my opinions on what's right for myself have shifted over the years. In more recent, I've realized that I do want kids in some capacity, and in this recent re-connection to some of my ancestors, it further solidifies that I want to continue passing down traditions and meaning to future generations. 

Lots of jumbled thoughts in this post, but they're all somewhat interconnected to the idea of keeping memories and traditions going. I think it gives such deep meaning to our lives to carry on purpose outside of just ourselves. x

With much love,



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