Happy Holidays 2011

I am in my new city of NYC trying to start new traditions for my favorite time of the year. They lit the tree and Rockefeller Center and all I could think of is way too many people, walk quickly to get home.  This time of the year, I like to stroll and take in the sites, sounds and smells of the holiday because it is the “most wonderful time of the year.” The phrase is cliché but for me it is true. I hate cold weather but Christmas time brings out the warm and fuzzy in me.  
This time of year, I hum a tune cheerfully, decorate the tree and anticipate spending time with my family.  There is an idealist in me that “would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”  This time of year people seem more jolly and kinder to their fellow man.
My fondness of the season is because I associate it most with happiness, tradition and family.  I grew up working class, but there was one thing I received an over-abundance of – love.  I grew up feeling safe, secure and knowing that I was loved by my parents, grandparents, and a host of aunts and uncles.  There were always presents under the tree, but what I remember most is family time.
This time of the year was special – the smell of the house of baked goods, making snow angels and a snowman, dad and aunts joining in snowball fights, a field by the school would freeze and everyone old and young would run and slide on the ice – wipe outs were the best!
Christmas day was excitement! My mom made our stockings and would hang them on the staircase.  However, Christmas morning the stockings were off the staircase on your section of the sofa stuffed with treats and goodies that it would have broken the staircase.  Mom and dad said we had to sleep past midnight and only after midnight could we come downstairs.  My sisters and I would wake at 3am to open presents, not knowing mom and dad just fell asleep.  They’d watch us open presents and head back to bed until breakfast. Our parents never asked us what we wanted for Christmas.  My sisters and I just circled toys in the Sears catalog and maybe you received it.  We always received clothes for Christmas in addition to toys.  The sofa was sectioned off in three, one for each child so you always knew your gifts. After a big breakfast, we’d get dressed in our new clothes and take one toy to visit both sets of grandparents.  All of the aunts and uncles came to the grandparents on Christmas; you knew all the cousins would be there so you could play with their toys too. 
The first stop of the day was always mom’s mom (Granny).  Granny had a small three foot tree but it did not matter because of the love warmth and food.  Her tree reminded me of the tree in Charlie Brown that love decorated and made pretty.  Good eating was always guaranteed at Granny’s house.  Then off to dad’s mom (Grandma).  Grandma had a huge white aluminum tree that was wrapped in red tinsel.  Maybe that is why I love “A Charlie Brown Christmas” because it reminds me of her tree.  Grandma bought gifts for each grandchild that suited our personality or what she hoped for our future.  I always received educational gifts because she said that was my gift/talent.
The gifts were nice but the best memories seem to happen after presents were opened and we sat around and reminisced about loved ones gone, Christmas past and seeing a new generation come up. I liked watching my mom and dad dancing together, seeing Granny play with our toys and hearing aunts and uncles talk about who was the worst sibling (to be saved as ammunition when my parents would say “I don’t know where you get that from”).
Because it is the season to give, at the top of this blog you can get 25% off any purchase on Chic Gems Etc by entering “ronda” in the coupon code, offer good through 1/30/2012. I adore the designer of Chic Gems.  I met her a few years ago in Chicago and after purchasing some items we soon developed a friendship.  Even when she moved away, we maintained our friendship.  She makes nice pieces that add a pop of color to my bland wardrobe of neutrals.  Plus, my mom, sisters and nieces are always excited to receive her  “candy” collection.  Above all, the designer is a good person.  I told her I wanted to mention her in the blog and she said anyone reading my blog is entitled to 25% off.  She also relocated to NYC, so it’s good to have a friend near.  Please visit her site to find nice affordable pieces for yourself or gifts for others.
Happy Holidays!!!!!!
Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.