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Your Traditions: Anna Favors
At Thanksgiving and Christmas, my sister and her husband open their home and abundant table they've prepared for family, friends and those who are alone or can't be with their family. They go to great lengths with full festive decorations inside and out and a delicious dinner for each holiday. They start a few weeks ahead, decorating lavishly. They hang draperies across the closed roll-up garage door and around the room as needed. Then they lay a carpet on the floor. Walla! By the time they finish, you never feel like you're in a garage, but in a full decorated, warm dining area with ambiance that seats 35 to 50 people at each occasion, and "always room for one more." They both share in preparations and do most of the cooking and baking in advance. On the day of the celebration, people start arriving early to help prepare the rest of the food and perhaps bring something more to the table. The kitchen is abuzz with preparations and chatting as more guests arrive. One Christmas, I ordered a large case of plush snowballs with silly faces embroidered on them. After dinner the kids loved chasing others outside, throwing the snowballs. Some, including the adults, tossed them around the house. No snow. No problems. We still enjoyed the snowball fights. We have family all across the U.S.A. This year we expect we will have loved ones from Texas, Arizona, Washington state and various places throughout California. Sometimes we play group games that include everyone. We laugh, share and catch up on loved ones we don't see often. Because there are so many at Christmas from different families and we don't know who will show up, we don't exchange gifts on that day. However, a very generous couple in our family plays Santa and have nice gifts for everyone, plus extras for unexpected guests. They just want to share the spirit of Christmas with everyone. At the end of the day, the out-of-towners spend the night at the homes of those who live locally and much of the time stay up till the wee hours taking advantage of every moment talking, sharing and enjoying this special time together. We so enjoy our holiday gatherings of family and friends. That's the stuff of which traditions are made. — Anna Favors, Delhi