Creating Merry Memories

Merry Christmas! We now begin to focus on starting fresh for the year. Our home, our personal space is the only area we have complete control of the energy we create. Creating a pleasant environment is a healthy foundation for you and your loved ones.


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Start fresh for the New Year

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is when I start the editing of things in my home. Simple tasks can make you feel good by letting go of items no longer serving you. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Weed through saved catalogs and magazines. Recycle the pile.
  • File important papers & shred the rest.
  • Clear off the desk. Doesn’t that feel good?
  • Wardrobe including accessories & basics. Donate to a local charity.

Making memories and cookies

  • Didn’t have time to bake for the holidays? Bake cookies and decorate them with your kids. Mine are grown and the tradition continues.
  • Family game time: get out the board games and have fun!

Plant a Seed

Here is an excerpt from my “Plant a Seed” column I have shared in the past. It is a favorite about family and creating memories.

Take a moment to remember a holiday from your childhood. My hope is that you can recall some magical memories that warm your heart. My memories not only fill my heart but my stomach and are centered on the family meal.

My childhood in the Bronx is not your typical Bronx tale but similar to growing up on a farm. My grandparents, Alfredo and Felicia Oliva, owned a home on a corner lot plus the lot next door. Magic happened on that lot, in the cellar and in my grandmother’s small basement kitchen.

The lot was a garden of abundance or what Italians call “Abbondanza!” The front was filled with colorful flowers. The back was loaded with vegetables, fruit trees and grapes. Walking the garden paths are some of my fondest memories outside of the kitchen.

There would be huge gatherings of family, extended family, cousins and paesanos. Every Sunday felt like a holiday. If it was warm we were outside in the backyard feasting. If it was cold we feasted inside. Feasting would not be an exaggeration. Everything was always fresh and homemade.

My brother and I would sit around a mountain of flour that my grandmother would crack eggs into and turn it into pasta dough. We rolled that dough into cavatelli with our little fingers. We would help make the homemade sausage, which would dry on the clothesline in the cellar.

Crates of grapes would magically end up in huge barrels in the wine cellar. The largest production of all was the homemade tomato sauce. There was no better place on earth than next to my grandmother in the garden or in the kitchen. These are all seeds that were planted in my memory.

Food was the centerpiece of the table. Our presence and those of our loved ones decorated the table. We sat and feasted for hours. And it wasn’t just for the holidays but every time we got together. Food is love and it doesn’t matter if you have a simple kitchen like my grandma or a fancy one. What matters is that you plant a seed.

For you and yours, I wish you a holiday filled with good food, good company and plenty of seeds. Abbondanza!

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Please set an extra place at your holiday table. Contact the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley at 534-5344, www.foodbankofhudsonvalley.org. Even $10 will go a long way.