This year’s Christmas is going to  be unlike any other one since it’ll be the first one without my beloved Father, who passed away in February of this year.  But, similarly to what I wrote on Thanksgiving Day, my mother, brother and I are comforted with the thought of my Dad enjoying Christmas with his parents, brothers, family members and life-long friends for the first time in a long time.

I just returned from a visit to the columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery to visit my father and Uncle Arthur, who are both interred near one another.  I had a good chat with both, primarily to wish them a Merry Christmas. I also just witnessed one of the most spectacular and memorable things I’ve ever seen.   As one makes their drive through ANC, you normally see thousands of the small, white tombstone markers.  But, today it was different … nearly every tombstone was adorned with a Christmas wreath.  The sight took my breath away.  It is an incredible sight to see.  Whoever came up with that idea is brilliant!  And, thanks to all of the volunteers who placed the wreaths on the thousands of markers.

Today will be different but fortunately I have whole week to celebrate this holiday with friends.  Last night, I had Christmas Eve dinner with the Mazzaccoli’s — it’s  a tradition we’ve done for the past 7 years — I love to bring presents for their six children.  There’s nothing like the joy of seeing young children excitedly open their presents.  And, tomorrow, one of longest and closest friends, Kevin Guthrie, will be coming to my house with his wife and three children, for a few days.   So, I’ll be surrounded by those that I cherish.

In closing, I once again watched one of my favorite movies, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” last night.   I used this quote when I gave the eulogy at my Father’s memorial service … and it seems more poignant than ever … “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends … and, to George Bailey, the richest man in town!”  That’s how I feel … I feel like the richest man in Washington, DC since I / we have been blessed with so many wonderful friendships.  I thank all of my friends, especially earlier this year when we lost my Father.   And, since one never knows if this will be the last holiday you’ll share with a loved one, please give them that extra hug today — and let them know how much you care about them.   Happy holidays.