Do you and your family have any annual Christmas traditions? Something you look forward to every year at Christmas time? Mine does. Well, actually, it's something my mother and I have done every year for as long as I can remember. When I was a child, we would prepare for Christmas day by making traditional Goan sweets that we would then share with family and friends on December 25th, after attending mass. I guess you could call it a cookie exchange -- but with everything except cookies. Unless you can deep-fry cookies. In which case, we probably did that, too. In Goa, there are two traditional Christmas sweets, which are usually made in bulk -- neureos (pictured below) and kul-kuls. Yesterday, my mum and I made the first round of neureos for this holiday season. They are basically a mixture of sweetened coconut with currents, raisins cashew nuts and a few spices (these vary from recipe to recipe), all stuffed into a light pastry dough that's deep fried. Delicious! Kul-kuls are made from sweetened, deep fried dough. Also equally delicious, and quick to make. My favourite part with these has always been rolling them on the back of forks to get the curls. More than the sweets alone, I must say I have always loved everything that comes with them -- shopping for the ingredients; picking a day to start; cooking, while Christmas carols play in the background; the way the house smells when you're done... Sigh! Traditionally, there has also been a beautiful communal aspect associated with making these sweets. When we lived on Goa, our family, along with others in the neighbourhood, would exchange trays filled with these delicious holiday treats. It was a way to get out of the house and wish everyone around us well. And although this doesn't happen as often now that we're older and spread out, thinking about those days does me smile. There's something so nostalgic about this time of the year. And I feel traditions always tug at heartstrings that don't get evoked easily. Yesterday, being in the kitchen with my mum, filled a space in my heart that I didn't know needed attention. The time we spent together made me think of where I'm from and about all the little aspects of my history that make me who I am. It was lovely. So, now it's your turn: Do you have any traditions you take part in during this time of the year? I'd love to hear about them.