Holiday thoughts

Merry Christmas to my family who are reading and happy-whatever-you-celebrate to everyone else.

As I write this I can smell Christmas vegetables slow-cooking in the kitchen and mixed with the smell of a beautiful fresh tree, Christmas sensations fill the senses. Christmas carols are in the background (Feliz Navidad, right now).

It's a time for generosity and memories. Let me share a few examples:

When I checked out a Wegmans a couple of days ago, the lady at the counter told me a story. A man bought four $100 Wegmans gift cards. He paid for them, then gave them to them to the check out lady and said that he wanted her to distribute them to four families, with kids, who seem to need the money. He paid cash and refused to give his name.

Later that day she gave one of the gift cards to a Dad who was buying very basic items. He CRIED when she gave him the gift card and explained that it came from an anonymous donor. She said that he could use the gift card for anything in the store. He said, he needed the money for food and would buy that!

***

This week a 16 year old student from Germany was trying to get home. He missed his flight and the airlines said that he couldn't fly until the next day. The problem was he is only 16 and didn't have anywhere to go - he might have had to sleep in Newark Airport alone! A different airline took mercy on him, honored his ticket and sent him home. "What if he'd been my kid?" the agent from Lufthansa told me, "I couldn't do anything BUT send him home."

***

Growing up we had Korean neighbors, the Chuns. Very sweet people. Every year they would bring home made egg rolls as a neighborly gift. We'd open them up Christmas morning, and even though my Mom said we had to wait, we couldn't resist. We ate them right then and there, in our PJs, for breakfast on Christmas morning. Eventually my Mom learned how to make them and for the rest of our childhood, we had homemade eggrolls with champagne for breakfast Christmas morning. (Yes, even as little kids, my parents gave us champagne when we celebrated something... we even had special teeny glasses!).

***

My kids have their own (eggroll-free and champagne-free) memories. In Scandinavian tradition, after opening gifts on Christmas Eve (we open gifts Christmas eve if we celebrate in Norway, we open them Christmas morning if we celebrate in the US), we dance in a circle around the Christmas tree and sing Christmas carols in English and Norwegian. A memory I hope my children my children will remember - and traditions they will follow.

I wish you all very happy holidays, whether you celebrate by following tradition or by breaking the mold.

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