Okay, so at the risk of soundly completely and ridiculously cliche, I’m writing about traditions. I don’t have many. I moved away from all family in my early twenties and with that away from the rituals that accompanied the holidays.

A few years ago, I decided to host a gingerbread house decorating party. What could be better? Close friends, over for a Sunday afternoon of cocktails and ridiculous amounts of sugar ingestion. Yum.

And today, I realized, inadvertently, I’ve started a new tradition. It was my fourth year of having friends over. Each guest brings their favorite bag of candy. I bake gingerbread houses and lots of gingerbread people. We gather and build a couple of houses (usually after several attempts of collapsed failures — this year it took the expertise of an engineering graduate from Carnegie Mellon to make the house stand…), drink copious amounts of champagne and eat ridiculous quantities of dumplings and hor’s dourves. And candy. Lots and lots and lots of candy. People’s departure times directly correspond with the amount of willpower they have. Those with little (who consume awesome magnitudes of sweetness) leave early. Those who have slightly more willpower stay later. And usually everyone is gone by 8:00 pm.

And again, at the risk of sounding completely cliche, I realize how lucky I am. How lucky that I live in a country where we can create sugary confections just because we can. How lucky that we have the luxury of gathering, just to be social. And with that knowledge, I’m truly thankful. And that’s the best tradition of all.

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