Shoppers bought ingredients needed for traditional holiday meals

Some traditions are shared among families and cultures

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The last Sunday before Christmas was a busy shopping day, but it wasn’t just about the gifts: it was also about the food!

It wasn’t just an ordinary Sunday of grocery shopping. No, this day involved careful planning and joy in finding each food that would help carry on a holiday tradition.

“Getting the family together and drinking tomato juice,” Brenda Martell of West Springfield immediately responded when asked what her holiday tradition was. She was also getting the family’s annual ham and squash, but it was that tomato juice that made her Christmas experience different from others’ experience. “We’ve had it for years. My grandparents did it, my parents did it, so now we do it, every year,” Martell said.

Some traditions are shared among families and cultures. That’s why at the Big Y in West Springfield, seafood and meats were in high demand.

“The big popular items are the bone-in rib roast and spoon roast…A lot of shrimp. Definitely a lot of shrimp,” said Assistant Meat and Seafood Sales Manager Ryan Yarrows.

Richard Dutton was waiting at the meat counter for his meat so he could make his annual prime rib. “Prime rib because it’s good and everybody looks forward to it every year…put the spices on it, and it goes around and around then when it’s almost done, I cut the strings and let the bones fall off and let the back get crisp and I just eat it,” Dutton told 22News.

Store Director Mike Messer told 22News people are looking for very specific ingredients this time of year, like saffron and real vanilla bean, for recipes they really only make once a year. Some left the baking to the busy bakers: it was their tradition to simply pick up the desserts.

Messer said it’s been busy but will get even busier before they close for Christmas. “It will be the day before Christmas Eve, the 23rd, generally is the busiest day. Everyone is getting all their last minute things,” he said. Then, he said, in the middle of the day on Christmas Eve, everyone is gone: they’re all home enjoying the traditions they worked so hard to preserve.

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