[private] What does Christmas mean to you? For me, Christmas brings so much nostalgia from the old days when I was growing up as a child on Utila in my Mother’s home. My Mother would be cooking and baking all kinds of goodies in the kitchen making ready for Christmas. Christmas morning I would awake to the sweet fragrance of apples, grapes, oranges, the smell of fresh cut pine from our tree and where did all the presents come from? Who put up the Christmas tree at night and decorated it so beautifully? Somehow this beautifully decorated tree with red, green, gold balls and tinsel appeared like magic in the corner of the parlor of my Mother’s home every year. At this time of year it is all about family. My thoughts are extended to those who are not so fortunate to celebrate a blessed Christmas with its beautiful colors, traditions and fragrances; but are blessed because they are a family and are able to be together at this time.
This time of year is all about family wherever they may be. It is a marvelous season for sharing and caring, even though you may feel you are not able to do so. As you begin to plan your Christmas celebration, I am sure you will be looking through family recipes to prepare goodies, you will be thinking of your children and their list of gifts they want Santa to bring them, your spouses, special friends and neighbors, and those across the miles. I am sure you will find a way to fill their hearts, warming their homes and creating memories with your thoughtful efforts.
It is said that we can actually taste the holidays when all the different kind of candies, cookies, spices, cakes and treats suddenly appear. We will all enjoy the marvelous fragrances coming from kitchens all over Utila bringing back childhood memories of our Christmas traditions.
Christmas brings with it many wonderful offerings for Utila. One of the projects I have been associated with since 2002 is the Toys for Tots program for the children on Utila and the Keys. It began as a small celebration and has grown over the years. We volunteer our time personally collecting donations from many of the business and individuals to help with the purchase of toys for the children. The donations are distributed by our Santa Claus whose journey begins with his first stop at the Keys, on the morning of the 24th of December, bringing toys to the children, as their faces light up with wonderful smiles. Later that day there is a small parade down the Main Street of Utila with Santa leading the parade, returning to the center of town where the police help us keep the children organized, while Santa brings smiles to the children sharing a toy with each child present.
To some, this may not seem like much of a big event, but it gives many of the children on Utila something to enjoy who may not otherwise have a Christmas; bringing a beautiful smile to each face. Each beautiful smile is priceless and our heartfelt thanks are extended to everyone who cared enough to share during this financial challenging year.
This special time of the year is when we can share with others the true meaning of Christmas Traditions. In this respect we may be small, but I believe we have a large heart that opens for the needy at this special time of year.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year from my family to yours.