In December 1976 our five children ranged in age from fourteen down to age nine. Santa believers were a thing of the past and that was okey. It is challenging to mix the fantasy of Santa with the spiritual and family and friend meaning of this special time.

We have always wanted our Christmas tree to showcase ornament decorations that had special meaning. In 1976 we decided to have each of the children decorate one of the points of a cardboard star that we put together. Since that time the star has adorned the top of our annual tree. Forty-six years later the star has lost some of its crispness but none the memory joy that it invokes. It used to be the pinnacle of our floor reaching to ceiling Christmas trees, now it just as importantly adorns our table top trees. Tree size has been reduced because we are no longer capable of the logistics of a big tree.

Christmas week 2022 has been particularly joyful as most of our children and grandchildren have been able to join us in person. Those grandchildren who could not be with us were present in our thoughts and hearts. For Christmas dinner we were twenty -eight in number. This could have been overwhelming but not so.

Lilly(granddaughter) and I did the basic shopping which has been a tradition of the last many years. Usually Annie(granddaughter) is with us. But this year she is working in Madrid in a teaching job where she is employed by the Spanish government. We decided to FaceTime Annie during our coffee shopping break. That was so much fun! Electronics can be annoying but they can also be amazing. We had such a clear and wonderful conversation with Annie in Madrid. This was electronics at its best.

When we continued with our shopping I put the phone in my pocket. As my phone is want to do, it decided to make another Face Time call. Coming from my pocket I heard some FT noises and pulled out the phone and there was grandson Alec in Charlottesville, Virginia. An unexpected treat that made Lilly and me very happy.

Our Christmas day celebration started with some pretty amazing caroling. It was a good mix of religious and secular songs sung with gusto and enthusiasm.

Christmas dinner was so yummy. It was truly a team effort with each family preparing part of the dinner menu. The cousin gift exchange was very thoughtful and the white elephant exchange was perhaps tamer than usual but it had its moments of gift theft which added to the fun,

It was an honor to have Emily(granddaughter) and her husband David spend their first married Christmas with us. I so clearly remember preparing for Jerry’s and my first married Christmas. I wanted our Christmas decorations to have special meaning and wanted the first ornament that we purchased to be a memory treasure. We were married the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 1960. With honeymoon and work and writing thank you notes for wedding gifts, we were well into December before we could give time to Christmas decorating. It meant a lot to me that we get the right first ornament. We settled on a three inch long cloth angel wearing wearing a soft pink dress, with gold trimmed wings and a sweet expression on her face. After all these years she is now kind of falling apart as she adorns our advent wreath but is truly a memory treasure.

The next days of Christmas week were filled with time together as we prepared for the engagement party we were co -hosting with our son Jerry, for Jeremy( grandson) and Amy. We are so happy for Amy and Jeremy. As I have said before one of my most favorite prayer requests is that each of our nineteen beloved grandchildren find the right life partner. It was so special to co- host this party for Amy and Jeremy and to meet their friends and to meet Amy’s parents.

NewYears Day we joined with our local families for another team approach dinner. From Lilly’s amazing spanakopita and yogurt sauce to Jim’s grilled chicken, it was a culinary feast. We had such fun sharing New Years resolutions and it was very humorous when the question was asked if your life story was made into a movie who would you pick for the staring role.

New Years and its focus on new beginnings is a very thought provoking time. I like to reflect on the powerful words of Desmond Tutu: Do your little bit of good where you are; it is those little bits of good put all together that overwhelm the world.

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