A Letter from Danielle for December ‘17

Hi Everyone,

Whew!!! This year whizzed by for me, with lots of work, lots of new books, family events, some scary moments like the recent fires in the Napa Valley, world events that caught everyone’s attention, and now as mid-December hits, I am always reminded of the nostalgic song “I’ll be home for Christmas.” Wherever we are in the world, living and working, I am blessed that my children come home for the holidays, and we are so grateful to be together. We stop our busy work lives, and whatever we’re doing that seems so important on a daily basis, and head home. The important part of it for us is being together. The holidays are not only about who is there, but often they are also about who isn’t there, changes in the family, the loss of people we love. We all sorely feel the absence of my children’s late father, John, who was such an important part of all family events, even when we were no longer married, and the presence of my outrageously wonderful son Nick is also sorely missed. But whatever is happening in one’s family, and one’s life, we all try to pull it together for the holidays. I know it can be challenging at times. Holidays are like an intense magnifier of the good and the disappointing in one’s life. Everything stands out in sharper relief, against the backdrop of so much joy and holiday spirit around us.

I loved Christmas as a child, it was a glittering event. My father gave wonderful Christmas parties for all his friends, and I was allowed to be on the fringes of it, and watch what was going on … women in pretty dresses, laughter, music, and a huge Christmas tree. And when my own children were growing up we made a very big deal of Christmas. Christmas with nine children is magical. I think they have great memories of it, and we all come home like homing pigeons to be together again now. As a child, I grew up alone with my father, so our family was small. As an adult, I have been blessed with many children and created a big family, the exact opposite of what I grew up with. Our home is filled with noise and laughter, music and people, and traditions like baking brownies to give to friends. We used to give an ice skating party for our children, and our friends and their children every year too. It was sooo much fun, whether you skated or not. They are treasured memories now that everyone has grown up.

I’m well aware that holidays can be incredibly hard and very lonely, and we’ve faced our share of challenges too, particularly when Nick died. But I have found that the more people you reach out to, the more people you give to, of time, and comfort, and welcoming them – the more joyful the holidays are. It’s a time for giving more than getting, a wonderful time to reach out to others who are alone, and share traditions which may make the holiday wonderful for them too. It’s a time to open one’s doors and one’s heart, to include people if you can.

I hope that your holidays will be “merry and bright”, and even more, that they are tender, very special, and shared with those you love. It’s a time for kindness and blessing, wherever you are.

I send you my love for the holidays, and my thanks for all the joy you have contributed to my life this year. Merry Christmas!! Happy Holidays!!


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