Country Sampler Special Edition

Traditions, New Delights and Joys of Family and Friends

- Susan Wagner Drop me a line and tell me your favorite thing in this issue!

Every year, my former husband would read a small fabric-covered edition of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol during the holidays. It was just one of those little things that signaled the Christmas season for our family. Other traditions mark the holiday for us as well. My extended family has Italian roots, so we celebrate with a large gathering on Christmas Eve, enjoying delicious dishes of pasta and fish, something we have done for generation­s. More than 15 years ago, I started making homemade caramels at Christmas. My family members still look forward to those candies every year. I hope my son or daughter will continue the tradition when I no longer can. When the kids were younger, we made ornaments or cute little decoration­s that we gave to all our family and friends. When it comes to decorating, although I have bins of holiday greenery, accents and more, each year I get excited to add another piece or two. Tastes change and creative ideas flow, and I like mixing things up. Like the aforementi­oned caramels, I have favorite holiday dishes that I prepare every year, but I like to try out new recipes as well. Essentiall­y, I both treasure the traditions and embrace the new delights. One thing that has always stayed forefront, though, is the joy I feel when spending time with my family and friends. I love seeing my kids have fun with their cousins, no matter how old they get. I enjoy seeing the delight in my mom's eyes when she unwraps something that touches her heart. I adore our loud, boisterous, joyful Christmas Eve dinner.

And I have so much fun at our silly themed New Year's Eve party we have every year with our friends. The holidays are a time to enjoy both the old and the new and to spend heartfelt moments with family and friends—those you've known for years and others you may have just met. It's a time to reflect and give peace and thanks for your blessings. I hope this special edition of Farmhouse Style Christmas inspires you to make this season a truly delightful one. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. —Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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