“You are cordially invited to our 10th annual Hot Chocolate, Hot Apple Cider, and S’mores Party”. BYOM, (Bring your own mug).

Ten years ago we met a lovely family who had won a lottery to move from Zimbabwe to the US.  They lived in an apartment just upstairs from us.  We got to know this family and when the parents were visiting from Zimbabwe I had a true connection with the grandma.  We had a lot in common.  Grandchildren being the most common ground.

It was in December and being in Phoenix allows one to be comfortable outside.  A conversation began about us being from Montana and camping and all that goes with it.  It turned out this family did not know what a s’more was nor had they ever had hot apple cider.  Thus started our first Friday in December tradition of hot chocolate, cider, and s’mores.  We all gathered around the barbeques in the common area and had our first Christmas party with family from another country.  We have done this every year since and this past Friday we celebrated the 10th one.  Our Zimbabwe friends, now American citizens, joined us with their children and we think of their parents who are so far away.  This helps us get in the holiday spirit.  We have to have our Christmas lights up so it looks festive and Christmas music in the background.  Most everyone brings cookies or something to share.  The fire pit is lit and marshmellows are roasted so that s’mores can be created.

We have many new neighbors with all the building going on in our neighborhood so we had several new people to meet and visit with.  Part of the conversations are always how no one ever gets to know their neighbors.  For us, it’s important to know who lives close to us.  We know if there were an emergency we could count on these people to help us out.  We are there for them as well.

This tradition is truly how the Christmas season begins for me and perhaps it is the most meaningful.  We don’t have white Christmas’s here but this gathering each year warms my heart as I get to know more of my fellowman.

May there be the warming of your hearts with apple cider or hot chocolate and have that one s’more I allow myself each year.

See you in 2014


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