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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Favorite Christmas Gifts

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas. We were blessed to have had another wonderful Noche Buena with lots of food, laughter and presents. They say it’s better to give than to receive…a motto I like to live by. So instead of talking about the favorite gifts I received, I chose instead to share with you some of the favorite gifts I gave this holiday season.
My Time
This past Sunday my daughter, my boo and I went to the DC Jewish Community Center to help wrap gifts for the needy and the homeless. It was an enjoyable and needed change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. It was also a wonderful bonding opportunity for us as a family in a different but good way. As I was assembling gift bags for the homeless with basic necessities such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, soap, lotion, shampoo, warm gloves, hats and socks; it really hit me how blessed we truly are to have what we have.  I really appreciate the DCJCC putting together a wonderful volunteer program that made it so easy to find opportunities for families to work on projects together. I wish more community programs made it this easy for busy people participate in giving back to their communities. If you want to learn more about their program please visit the DCJCC website for more information here.

Preservation Of Family History
I’m super, super blessed to still have both of my eight-something year old grandparents with me. As an added bonus, Mima and Pipo as I endearingly call them, are still in fairly good health and live close by. My daughter has gotten to meet and grow up with her great-grandparents—what a special thing! I’m very close to both of my maternal grandparents as they raised me for several years while I was still living in Cuba. But, like many of us I find myself often taking these amazing things in that happen in our everyday lives for granted. This year, I gave my grandparents—and my whole family really—a gift of family history preservation.

I can remember being a little girl and my grandfather telling me stories about his grandfather. But it wasn’t until recently that it dawned on me—wow, he can trace our family history back 6 generations! We’re talking the mid 1800’s here!! So, my gift to him may seem a little weird to most... I got him a tape recorder. I found the simplest old school tape recorder I could find on Amazon and bought him an entire pack of blank cassette tapes (didn’t know they still made these). I asked him on his downtime or whenever a memory or thought of the past came to mind, to pop in a tape and press record. I explained that his memories and life experiences were treasures that he could leave for us and our family for generations to come. I intend on writing a family memoir someday (but probably not for a long time) and without these precious memories of his, it wouldn’t be as meaningful. Unfortunately, our family emigrated from another country fairly recently, so sites like won’t really help us trace our family history. He is our I explained. He laughed. I think it made him feel special that I appreciated his wisdom and years of experience and that they really meant something to our family.

And I can’t leave my Mima out of this project. I asked her to also add anything she felt was pertinent to this ad-hoc documentary and I also gave her a blank recipe book. For obvious reasons; I mean who doesn’t love their grandma’s cooking? At first I felt weird about giving them these somewhat morbid gifts, but think the way I explained it really helped them understand that it wasn’t intended to be morbid in any way. I just really value their wisdom and appreciate them as the matriarch and patriarch of our family.

So there you have it. Another wonderful Navidad we were given to share in the presence of family and friends. What were some of the favorite gifts you gave?


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