Christmas Letters to Alex- Kindness



Airports have turned into little islands of anger and rage. People put their heads down and just charge through the space. Before you or I were born, airports were a big deal. Flying was a big deal. You dressed up, and it was a social exercise, not just getting from point A to point B. Today it’s something to be endured, not enjoyed. The holidays make it worse. 

It’s stupid. (Yes I know that’s a bad word. Shush.) You get choices in how you respond to events. I always chose to enjoy the time when I travel. It’s a chance to meet people and see new things. Smile. It’s contagious. Say please and thank you. Wish people seasons greetings. The genuine joy from people when I said Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays was amazing. They actually startled. Folks are so busy going, they aren’t experiencing along the way. 

Have fun damnit. Then share that fun with others. 


Christmas Letters to Alex- Tidings of Comfort and Joy



The last 24 hours brought some major losses to friends I’m close to. The plan for tonight was a staff holiday party. It became apparent yesterday that going would mean leaving friends to mourn losses alone. So another friend and I plotted, and decided to do an impromptu Christmas tree decorating party. It was small, fun, and brought some peace in a crazy day. 

Where you can, comfort those who face loss this time of year. It’s hard, be it a sudden loss, or an old loss that still hurts. Bring joy to the moment by walking in the door with a big smile, an open heart, and no hard and fast plans. Help people live in the moment, help them ignore the what ifs. 

God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. 

Christmas Letters to Alex- lazy Sunday 


Did I mention you’ve been driving your parents nuts? Today you got dropped off with me so all of you could get a nap. Because you apparently make nap time impossible at home. Anyway, today marks your first solo hangout at Aunt Clara’s place. Which means I need to baby proof things. Soon. And get toys. I digress. 

We watched a little football, and you got a much needed nap. You played with new cats, and we had a very indepth conversation about Christmas trees and ornaments. I told you stories about some of them. You grabbed branches and shook things. All and all we had fun. 

Make time for those little moments. Open your heart and home when it’s needed. Open them when it seems like it isn’t needed. Chances are you need that quality time just as much as the other person did. 

Open heart, means a good life.  

Christmas Letters to Alex-pewter cats 



Dissen is a village in Bavaria, Germany. Going back hundreds of year, the artisans in Dissen have been producing amazing pewter artwork. 

When I was little, we lived in a small village near Freiburg im Breisgau. So a lot of the German traditions became part of my core Christmas memories. This includes the amazing pewter artwork from Bavaria. 

This little guy is my “Max” Christmas ornament. I picked him up while my mom and I were in German this summer.  It’s got a hint of his sassy face, and his amazing smile. It’s a fusion of two favorite things, plus a hint of family traditions. 

Christmas joy in a tiny black cat on the tree. 

Christmas Letters to Alex-Turn of the season



The weather is finally turning. Austin doesn’t do cold like the North does. It never quite feels like Christmas until I get some cold weather. It’s one reason I like to head home for the holiday. Over the next few days, we should drop below freezing. Your mom will pull out the fuzzy pjs, and you may even end up with a blanket in your bed.

Christmas means cold weather. Don’t let your Floridian parents convince you otherwise. Snow, frost, and cold that makes your nose run is the order of the day. Make it a point to spend at least one Christmas somewhere with snow. Learn just what it means to be in weather that’s frightful, with a fire that’s so delightful. Enjoy the sting of Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Get into a real snowball fight, and stomp into the house with cold and wet feet. You may never get a true White Christmas, but I promise you that there’s nothing cooler than Christmas lights coated with snow and frost. (Except those lights being viewed from a window, with a fire going in the background.)

Remind me to discuss proper marshmallow roasting technique at a later date.

Fingers crossed that I get some snow when I’m home this year. I’m feeling winter deprived. Hopefully I can get you some cool pictures if we do get snow. Fingers crossed. Santa, bring me a little snow.

Christmas Letters to Alex- 360 trees



Here in Austin, folks like to decorate the trees on the side of Capital of Texas Highway. It’s a pretty cool tradition. I’ve decorated trees a few times. Some folks decorate them for causes. Some for rememberance. Most decorate for fun. We will do it at least once. Promise. 

Just remember to take your “tree” down after Ephinay. Don’t mess with Texas. 

Christmas Letters to Alex- Joy to the World

This letter is a little tricky. It relies on a video, which may or may not still work years down the road. So if the video doesn’t pop up, go do a search for USAF Band holiday flash mob.

Go. I’ll wait. Find it? Good. Pick the first one at the Smithsonian. Watch.

Watch the faces in the crowd. See the confusion turn to delight as the music builds. See the joy. Watch them enjoy the gift of the music.

The best gifts are given freely, with no expectation that there’s anything given back but delight. Do your best to go through life giving with an open heart. Give for the fun of seeing that ear splitting smile. Give because it’s fun. Give because you can.

Give from the heart, share the joy.

–Love, Aunt Clara

Christmas Letters to Alex- That damn hippo song



The hippo song. Specifically, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”. One of the great novelty songs ever. By the time you’re old enough to read this, hopefully the Hippo song prompts a goofy grin. Ideally, your mom yells at us both as we sing it together, top of our lungs, and terribly off key. It’s one of my favorite Christmas songs ever, and one of the few songs I’ll sing out loud. I expect that your mom will send more than a few eye rolls heavenwards as we try to prompt a reaction. Remind me to tell you about my Mom and Dog Jingle Bells one day. 

I adore this song because it’s so much about the things I love this time of year. It’s about believing in impossible things and never losing hope. You have to be able to believe in the impossible. Otherwise you can’t ever reach for big things in your life. 

Don’t be afraid to believe. Don’t be afraid to reach. Things won’t always work out. It can hurt an awful lot when it doesn’t. But that moment where that impossible thing happens- that’s magic. It’s so amazing, and so worth fighting for.  

So every Christmas, you and me are gonna clean out the garage, and get ready for hippo massages. Because I will always believe in the impossible. 

Besides, mom will love you for cleaning the garage. Trust me. 

–Love Aunt Clara

(PS- still waiting on that hippopotamus. Because only a hippopotamus will do.)