Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It is my favorite time of the year. It is my first Christmas in New York that I can actually decorate my space and feel at home. I put the tree up after Thanksgiving. I hadn’t seen my holiday decorations in two years. Eight years ago, my niece made me a wreath in kindergarten. Every Christmas that goes on my front door. I like to incorporate the handmade gifts from the nieces and nephews throughout the house.

I am one those people that keep old holiday cards. I like seeing the progression through the ages of kids of friends and family. I love Snoopy so anything Snoopy gets my immediate attention. This afternoon I addressed holiday cards. I was pleasantly surprised to look out my window and see SNOW!

The sights of Christmas. Yesterday I walked through Bryant Park. The line for the ice rink was around the block. The smells of hot cider in the air. It was a winter wonderland. My goal this Christmas is to learn how to ice skate. I’m so jealous of the skaters. They look like they are having a ball and I’m on the sideline missing out. Last year, I bought a pair of ice skates Black Friday. I must learn so that my new NYC tradition includes ice skating. I dream of myself dressed like Julie Christie’s “Lara” in Dr. Zhivago and skating like Debi Thomas to Carmen. I will be a vision – dream a little dream with me.

Typically if I were back home, this would be cookie baking with the nieces and nephews. I am so happy the tradition survives in my absence. My oldest niece and namesake has become the baking aficionado in the family. My sister says she bakes like grandma – an amazing and tasty feat. That is what holidays, especially this one, means to me. The passing down of tradition. Sitting in the kitchen, watching the nieces and nephews put more icing in their mouth than on the cookies. Hearing screams when someone didn’t wait for the cookies to cool but instead took a bite because they just couldn’t wait. Last year I took the nieces and nephews to the Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderland. It was a blast. 

This year I won’t be home for Christmas. Instead, my older sister and youngest nephew will visit me in NYC. Unfortunately, all of my babies can’t come. They have all lodged complaints about not having Christmas Eve with auntie this year.  Christmas Eve at auntie’s is a tradition. It’s my time to feed and spoil my babies. I create a meal fit for royalty. Last year’s menu included buttered rolls, salad greens with marinated shrimp in lime and cilantro, lobster mac and cheese, cod wrapped in bacon,  seafood gumbo, spiced cake, peach cobbler (my sister’s contribution) and sweet potato pie (my aunt’s contribution). 

This year I am prepping for the arrival of my sister and nephew. I have something scheduled everyday. My sister’s cooking is second only to my mom. This will be good eating. She offered to cook her ham and peach cobbler. I love a Christmas ham. She makes a delicious pineapple glaze that is lip smacking good!

I wish you and your family much love and joy.


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.