Every winter I make the journey back to Southern California, my old stomping grounds, to galavant under the warm, sunny skies. I'm greeted by Mexicans and Filipinos and the culturally appropriate indulgences they offer. In fact, my Mother had me waiting for an hour in line at Manila Sunset for a party tray of pancit palabok yesterday! Having had a Jewish Father and a Catholic Mother, I was lucky enough to enjoy the best of both worlds; 8 days of Hanukkah and Christmas?! What a dream come true for a kid! Aside from the over eating and drinking which accompanies holiday celebrations, I specifically look forward to connecting with people from lives past: my childhood friends who are now mommies; my drinking buddies from college; the homies I've traveled the globe with; my girlfriends from the early days in New York City and most notably, my family. Near or far, my family holds it down! They are the most festive, generous people I know. Of course I am bias, but I would never trade my family for the world. So wherever you are and whoever you're with, I hope you are taking time to celebrate your family. We often forget how much of an impact they've had on who we've become. I had to post these pictures of my Mother's holiday decor; with a Jewish husband she has always respected his wishes for "no Christmas tree," but boy, she has one of everything else on display. Merry Christmas, readers. May peace be with you.