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You know that I am italian as well, and I used to love those little traditions you mention. I have been lucky in my life, I "had it easy" for the most part, but I kinda miss those traditions, not because I moved like you did, but mostly because... how can I say, I guess good times come to an end, most of the times. Probably it should be up to me to do my best to keep them up and not just fall prey of the easy saying "I can't do anything about it". Perhaps we all can.

Merry Christmas to all. I'm glad the story kept you company. Technology can assist in bringing people who are far away closer together. A real hug is still the best hug though.

@Shonali - while in the past I accepted that there wasn't time to go back and visit with family, I have made it a point to do it every year. Life has a way of making decisions for you, if you let it. It is about the little things that happen naturally, if we let them.

@Ann Marie - thank you for saying it in Italian. Little things matter. People will forget what you do and what you say, they will remember how you make them feel. A lesson I carry with me in business every day.

@Rayna - I have a superb teacher in my mother for these kinds of things. She's so good about being gratifying with people. And that makes it easy to love her. An example for sure.

@Mary - indeed, the word inspiration has its root in Latin "in spiritus", the energy we draw from being part of a true community of people coming together to celebrate is what I love about humanity.

What a wonderful story Valeria filled with fabulous memories that sustain us in tough times. I have always also had a fondness for the messages in The Little Prince so was intrigued by your picture.

Midnight Mass was a tradition in our house as well and if I still lived in my hometown would be for my children. The combination of prayer,song and celebration really started the holiday right. I hope that's one piece of Italy you can still find in the US. I know my home church still has a service...if I was there I would join the singing of Silent Night to candlelight.

Merry Christmas!

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