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Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. Have you ever noticed that during the holidays, our world seems to dress itself up, putting its best foot forward? Have you ever looked around and seen all the street and window dressings, people semi-bundled up (remember we live in California, hence the word semi, says she who wears socks with the flip flops). Even when the rains come down to kiss the earth, there’s a clean crisp smell about it. People seem to go out of their way to be nicer (well except for me, I fall into the Ebenezer Grinch category) and peace and harmony can be found in abundance. What makes the holiday season so special? Why can’t it be like this all year round? Maybe because we believe in the magic of the season? Memories of those we have lost but not forgotten?

For me, I know I fondly dust off my holiday memories at our grandparents’ house. There are so many of us, the house was always warmly crowded. I’ve always wondered how the house itself didn’t collapse with 300 plus bodies milling around. One of my aunts would take charge of making sure the tamales were properly cooked by tasting them every half hour. Surprising she was never hungry when we finally got around to eating. My grandmother would make a HUGE pot of Abuelita hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream and batch after batch after batch after batch of cinnamon raisin cookies. My grandfather knew people in high places (yes I AM bragging) and Santa (YES THE SANTA—told you he knew people in high places) would take a short break from his busy delivery schedule to show up in his horse drawn sleigh to deliver special pre-Christmas gifts to those of us gathered. Everything else would go under the already jammed packed tree. Singing Christmas carols in English and Spanish before sitting down to our traditional dinner of tamales, rice and beans—oops, did I forget to mention at the beginning we’re Mexican? Then singing some more songs as we filled our already full tummies with freshly baked cookies and hot chocolate as we entertained Santa, our grandparents, parents, and aunts & uncles before being bundled up for our trip home to await Santa’s arrival at home.

Talk about warm fuzzy feelings brought about by those memories that have enlarged my Grinch heart! So I hope my short trip down my memory lane has nudged some of your Holiday memories and given you something to smile about.

The end of the year draws close and soon we will have a WHOLE NEW YEAR to look forward to, filling it with loving memories. The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us… will you make that choice? Yes, the holiday season has begun… may your home be filled with lots of love, peace, laughter and yummy smells!! ENJOY!

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