Thursday, 10 December 2015


When it comes to Christmas music, I love Michael Buble's version of Grown Up Christmas List:

Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee,
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies.
Well I'm all grownup now.
Can you still help somehow?
I'm not a child, but my heart still can dream.
So here's my lifelong wish,
My grown-up Christmas list
Not for myself........

The lyrics never fail to have me ask myself, And what do you wish for, Daphne? Not for yourself, but for family and friends, what do you wish?

Minus the stressful noise of every day life - traffic, iPhones, computers, demands, complaints, deadlines - I wish you time. Time for peaceful contemplation. Time to truly get to know yourself. I wish you the time to discover what makes you happy. What job, what activities, what relationships, what values allow you to be the very best version of yourself? What in your life leaves you feeling content and complete?

I wish you hope. I wish you to be solid in the knowledge that no matter what has transpired in the past, no matter what has befallen you today, your future can be whatever you determine it to be. When the world says, "Give up", hope whispers, "Try it again."

Mark Twain wrote, Travel is prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. I wish for you the gift of travel. Be it travels across our beautiful country or travels abroad. I wish you travel that educates and delights, enlightens and enriches your perspective.

Most importantly, I wish you love. I wish that in your lifetime you may know the love of a spouse or significant other. I wish that you be surrounded by the love of family and friends. May you be blessed in the knowledge that it is not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life, who you love.

So here's my lifelong wish,
My grown up Christmas list.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, 6 December 2015


Cooking is art. Baking is science and I am most certainly not a scientist! So goes my first excuse for not picking up my Mother's famous Christmas baking mantel. Cookies call to me and I don't need the calories, has been my second worn out excuse.

My Mother's Christmas baking was legendary. Just ask family and friends; just witness their watering mouths. Say Christmas cookies and it conjures up memories of Mom's epic baking marathons. Cherry jewel bars (Right, Jo-Anne?), chocolate carousels, chocolate crunchies, Swedish tea rings, Christmas cheer, rum balls, butterscotch squares, apricot balls, mocha truffles........... Her list of Christmas creations was deliciously extensive. And Mom's shortbreads? Mouthwateringly devine!

Every Christmas season, until at 88 years when she suffered her first stroke, my mother entered her kitchen, commenced a manic baking frenzy and emerged a week later. Where did she find the energy? I believe that love of her children and grandchildren fuelled her. Magical packages of over fifteen cookie varieties then awaited pickup by we three very blessed children and our spouses. Cookie delights graced our tables for seasonal dinner parties, the traditional Christmas tree cutting brunch, Christmas dinner, and New Year's Eve celebrations.

Forget your silly excuses, orders my self talk. Why do you really avoid Christmas baking?

How do I live up to her example? I admit. And therein lies the crux of the matter; I cannot ever measure up to Mom's talent. 

Oh, get over yourself. Since when was this a contest? Just do it. Damn, my conscience bugs me sometimes. And so let the flour fly; let the chocolate melt; let the magical baking begin. I'll do it......well, not fifteen varieties! I know, too, that Mom will be there with me, sitting on a counter stool, smiling, providing encouragement and thrilled that I have at long last donned the Christmas baking apron.