Thank you for falling like a perfect snowflake at the end of every year, for throwing light, joy and merriment on everyone and everything. For making us all a little bit kinder to one another and for making forgiveness seem like the easiest thing in the world. For bringing a smile to my face with just the ring of a bell. For allowing me to defer some of my parental responsibilities to Kyle the Elf. For bringing happiness to my life even in the worst of times. Thank you for George Bailey. For the unique family traditions you’ve inspired, like decorating cut-out cookies with my loved ones, putting a dime in a tiny homemade stocking ornament every year for as long as I can remember, and preparing Christmas dinner to exact specifications – Caesar salad, beef tenderloin (rare), Bearnaise sauce, mashed potatoes and baby carrots with chopped parsley. Don’t get all crazy and try to make those baby carrots with dill, now, Christmas, you hear? Thank you for the Carpenters’ Christmas Portrait album and for the thousands and thousands of Christmas memories those songs bring to mind. Thank you even for the mournful tears I cry every time I hear “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” It is a special sadness that makes me feel alive and, above all else, loved. Thank you for only happening once each year, always giving me something lovely to look forward to without growing stale. Thank you for Starbucks Christmas cups. For reminding me to enjoy each precious moment that I have. For bringing my Colorado mountain home to its full postcard potential. For hot apple cider and roaring fires. Thank you for presents – for the careful choosing, wrapping, bowing, giving and receiving of each and every one. Thank you for this time to reflect on Christmases past and for the ability to truly revel in Christmas present. I have never felt more at peace or in love than I do this year. Above all, thank you for your neverending spirit and charm. May your December glow continue to illuminate all of us and keep us warm as we head into 2014.