Christmas cards and cookies

To everyone out there, wherever you are, I hope you are having the happiest of holiday seasons. I'm currently writing from a chilly, calm day in Dublin and thinking of my friends and family all over the world.

Holidays far from "home" and "normal" can be hard. But they can also be a chance to remember exactly what you've loved over all the years, and what traditions mean the most. And, as always at the holidays and the end of the year, this is a time to feel grateful.

So for today's post: three Christmas cards and one cookie recipe.

First, two Christmas cards from my grandmother, who is celebrating the hilarity of ripe old age by posing with her dream Christmas gifts. From last year, at 93, Gran Fran asked for a Harley:

Gran Fran sitting on a Harley motorcycle on her 2013 Christmas card

(And yes, that really was her actual Christmas card, sent out to all the accumulated friends and family in her long and eventful life)

This year: the Christmas race car:

Gran Fran's 2014 Christmas Card

Aside from loving these cards because of their place in my family, I am particularly happy about what this signals as far as enjoying our time and living life to the fullest. I mean... 94 and posing with a race car. There's many good times ahead.

So now for the third Christmas card. Please indulge me in sharing something very special that happened this year. I'm a new blogger and am really enjoying the process of building a community and getting to know people through my writing and the stories and advice I've shared. I'm starting to have a community on the MyCollegeAdvice twitter and facebook, and feel so happy to know that people are finding the blog (there's been a few readers from countries I would never have imagined might find me--I'm looking at you, Finland!)

This year I received a Christmas card from the fabulous Bibi, who is a regular commenter on the blog and has become one of those fabulous "Internet friends." So, for my third Christmas card: from Bibi, with thanks both for the time and kindness and for making me feel like I'm part of a growing community here on the blog.

Christmas card from Bibi

Now enjoy some Christmas cookies, courtesy of my Aunt Mish. Send love to friends and family far and wide, and have a lovely holiday, wherever you are.