imagesIn December we kick off the festivities with St. Nicholas Day on the 6th, St. Lucia Day on the 13th, Hanukkah on the 16th, Christmas the 25th and Kwanzaa the 26th. However your family celebrates the holidays, whether you are African, American, German, Dutch, Swedish or of another nationality or denomination, no matter which deity you chose to worship (or not) try to make amends with estranged family members, disgruntled neighbors, difficult colleagues. Build bridges not walls. Start the holiday season with a thankful heart.

Think less is more when baking, buying, and boxing up. Remember the greatest gift, especially in this fast paced modern society, is not gold, frankincense or myrrh but time together.

So hang on to those traditions that make your family unique. Frost those sugar cookies, bake those spritz, baste that turkey, decorate the halls, and find that special toy, but know the real significance of the season cannot be found on the table or under the tree. It is within us, in our actions, in the way we interact with others.gingerbreadhouse2008

Cherish friends and family members, near and far. Take a moment to honor the memories of loved ones who have passed on. Slow down. Hold your tongue. Bite your lip. Be patient. Be kind.

Keep in mind that the holidays are not always happy for everyone; real life doesn’t take time out to offer a reprieve from illness and accidents.

Savor this moment. So what if the cookies have burnt edges, the dog eats the ham, the new sweater is ugly, and the package arrives a day late.

We, especially we women, put so much pressure on ourselves to create the flawless holiday, but what makes the day perfect is not all the tra la la, it is simply being together.

Wherever you are, whomever you are with and however you choose to celebrate, remember to give thanks for one another.

Peace be with you and yours.

Sealed with a kiss from SwitzerlandIMG_0818

I’ll be back in 2 weeks.