To say that I love Christmas is an understatement! I love everything about it–selecting and purchasing our Christmas tree, shopping for loved ones, decorating our home, singing Christmas Eve service at our church, preparing Christmas dinner and enjoying the smells emanating from the kitchen, taking that first bite of mashed potatoes and gravy and then the turkey, seeing the delighted expressions on loved ones faces as they open their gifts. I could go on and on.

Ever since I was a little girl growing up in Noblesville, Indiana, I remember Christmas as a special time for our family. My mother made it so. Our house was always beautifully decorated, and mother’s Christmas dinner was a precursor to mine today. My sister and I duplicate her cornbread dressing and green bean casserole (you know, the one with mushroom soup and onion ring topping), and she was a master at gravy making. Luckily, I’ve been able to create a yummy gravy for that special meal as well. I don’t remember what we had for dessert, but I have since figured out how to make a luscious apple pie, complete with a brown sugar, butter and chopped walnut topping that knocks your socks off. My family yearns for it every year!

It always seemed to snow at or around Christmas in Noblesville. It was part of the magic of the season. My family bundled up on Christmas Eve and headed to church for the midnight service, where my entire family sang in the choir. The “Hallelujah Chorus” was usually our musical finale.

Those days are long gone, and Doug and I have been in sunny California for many years, but I remember watching the Rose Bowl games on New Year’s Day in Noblesville and wondering how it could possibly be that warm and sunny while I was freezing in the Midwest. Well, we’ve enjoyed those warm, sunny Christmases for years, and, frankly, sometimes we yearn for the snow and cold. Be careful what you wish for!

As we approach this special time of year, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, or enjoy the season without any religious connotation, I am hoping we will all want to reach out to others with acts of kindness. Christmas is a lot about giving.

I wish you peace and joy and a large dose of happiness this holiday season.

Happy Holidays!

Donna Bunce, Editor