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The holiday season.

This is a topic that is very sensitive to me. I even wrote about it last year in the post, When Traditions Change. I had a really difficult time emotionally adapting to breaking tradition since my dad passed away five years ago. The ripple effects of his absence changed the entire dynamic of our holiday family gatherings. I didn’t want anything to change, I wanted to freeze time and feel like a youngster again, no cares except for scoring a second round of chocolate pie!

I took it for granted that all my family members would always be there. Now that I’m older, I know to cherish every moment and every conversation!

What I’ve come to learn is that there is always room to make new traditions. I feel like this campaign and the theme came to me for a purpose, since the holidays are here again. Writing this post is therapy! I know I wasn’t the only one feeling the way I did, because this year, my sister-in-law did a wonderful thing and started a new tradition – Thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday before the actual holiday. It allowed my immediate family to release the stress of what we knew the day to be and create a new vibe. We met at my brother’s and had a tasty meal, we laughed and shared stories and lots of memories. There was no rush to leave for another house to visit, we were able to baste in the moment. (Did you like that turkey reference? LOL!)

Maya being her goofy self, and Alicia, DeAngelo's girlfriend, and DeAngelo!

Maya being her goofy self, and Alicia, DeAngelo’s girlfriend, and DeAngelo!

One of the new things this year – DeAngelo has a girlfriend! Her name is Alicia and she is adorable and kind. She’s become his best friend and roommate too. He brought her over to Thanksgiving to meet my mom and brother. They all approved!

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Patrick had a music gig and couldn’t make it, but we did go out to breakfast that morning. Talk about fusion! Here in our world, we drink coffee while having chips and salsa too!

When I was a kid, we spent the holidays at three houses, our own, my Nana Jauregui’s, then my Nana Cano’s. After I married, that doubled. Once we had kids, we had to make the rounds to not only my family’s but Patrick’s too. I’m talking at LEAST four houses in one day. Even though it was a headache time wise, zigzagging back and forth across the city from house to house, it never occurred to me then that things would be different. But once our grandparents passed away, and our kids grew up, that tradition changed. Now we still make the rounds, but in a new way, with new faces. Our extended families have grown so much, there is not one house big enough to hold them all so the gatherings are broken up into small chunks. Seriously! I love that!

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And I’ve started a new tradition of my own – public storytelling! Every year I take the stage among other Arizonans to share a holiday story to a room of 400 people at the Arizona Biltmore. Here is a link where you see one of my stories! I love doing this because I feel like it is a way for me to do my own thing and still honor family – and share juicy memories. Oh my gosh, wait until you see the one I’m going to share this year – I’ll post about it here after the event!

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Here are our kids all grown up! They have found ways to have their own fusion of traditions – Maya always sings a holiday song and posts it on YouTube, and DeAngelo has his own blog where he incorporates his love of geekdom (games, sci-fi, etc) into the season.

Here are some fun ways to add fusion to your own holiday traditions:

– Create a doughnut bar! Set out plain doughnuts, then add bowls with a bunch of different fixings: syrups, cream sauce, nuts, chocolate chips, coconut, bacon bits, sprinkles and more.

– Have a little crafting station. Buy some blank ornaments, have small family pictures, a glue stick and glitter. Then family members can make and trade ornaments.

– Random Acts of Kindness letters. Have some blank greeting cards and have each family member write an encouraging note. Then pass them out to strangers you meet while shopping or anywhere you’d like!

– Create music playlists of everyone favorite songs. Ask your nana, tias and cousins to tell you their favorite songs. Then create a playlist or even burn CDs so everyone can be reminded of each other once the holiday is over! Imagine – Vicente Fernandez one one track, then Nick Jonas on the next…

Love & light,


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