Trees are strong because they are both deeply rooted and flexible. This year, celebrate with love, tradition, and flexibility.
My grandfather was Jewish and my grandmother, Catholic. For his work, he owned a toy store, so you can imagine how fascinating my childhood was, especially during Christmas. Food in my grandparents’ home was a mix of Moroccan Sephardic delights with Spanish and Venezuelan flavors. I think about my grandparents all the time and try to pull the best of all these different worlds together and make them my own.
The most important thing is that our traditions create a link to maintain the family — to keep the family as close as possible, all sitting together at the table. My world is full of different religions and traditions and the one important thing that keeps us together is having an open mind, full of respect and focused on sharing.
This year we are going to have both Hanukkah and Christmas at home, something I see more and more of in the world every year. I’ll be cooking to honor life present and future, thinking of the past and the festive and plentiful ways of my grandparents’ table, and dreaming of the unknown my parents taught me. Everything is a trip to be enjoyed step by step.
Winter is my favorite time of the year. The festive winter holidays bring intense aromas into the house. I can smell Christmas. Cooking becomes about togetherness, entertaining, and comforting others. Baking becomes more delicious and seductive. I love to see the shining lights and the colorful decorations. The Christmas tree, the menorah, and the candles. Children singing. Families getting together in one room for celebration dinners or coming together from thousands of miles away through video chat. Finding that special gift, wrapping it, then watching the joyous unwrapping.
Living in Miami, the trees I see are Coconut palms with squirrels running up and down, and my snow is a beautiful blue sea. There is the warm sun and a mini touch of cool breeze just perfect for opening all the windows, though I do dream of seeing the sparkling white snow and sitting by the fireplace with a warm mulled wine.
Winter is for dreaming and for thinking the year over, being grateful and surrounded by your loved ones. Celebrate tradition with flexibility to share your happiness, love, and peace in the world.
All my love to you always.