Merlino & Gonzalez December 2017

December 2017





My Favorite Holiday Traditions

In my house, many Christmas traditions involve food. We rotate every year between my wife’s family and my own. My heritage is a mix of Cuban, Spanish, and Irish, so our big feast happens on Christmas Eve. We make paella, and rice and black beans. My son, Ryan, who like his dad has a very traditional Spanish name, has taken to preparing a flan that wouldn’t be out of place at a restaurant in Madrid. The main attraction, though, is a traditional Cuban pork roast. To this day, whenever I smell Cuban pork, I’m instantly transported to my childhood holidays. Joanne, my wife, is Italian, so every other year we get a different, but equally delicious, meal. Her family prepares the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. As the name suggests, it’s a seven-course meal where each dish showcases a different kind of seafood. There aren’t strict rules, so the dishes sometimes change. No matter the menu, I am never less than stunned by the results. I love that we have the opportunity to engage with our family cultures through these holiday meals. The blending of our heritages makes the holidays exciting and unique every year.

The most magical holiday moments, however, are often the quiet ones spent at home. When my kids were young, the Elf on the Shelf was just getting popular. Every morning, they would scour the house for the elf, and if they couldn’t find him, panic set in. Eventually, we’d have

to drop subtle hints about where we’d “seen” the elf. When they found him, they were relieved and excited. Joanne and I spent more than our fair share of time constructing creative hiding places. It’s these little traditions and the memories associated with them that make the holidays special. At the office, Christmas includes going to a few parties and checking in with our clients before the most wonderful time of the year wraps up. One tradition at our office is to take the entire team out for a holiday meal. It’s a chance for John and I to say thanks for all of the wonderful work they do throughout the year. I want to wish all of our clients a happy holiday season. One of the best gifts I receive every year is the chance to work alongside you. If you have any extraordinary holiday traditions in your family, I’d love to hear about them the next time you’re in the office. Whether you feast on seven fishes, roast a pig, or just cook up a classic Christmas roast, I hope you enjoy some great food — and even better memories with your loved ones.

Our families may be equally invested in creating magical Christmas Eve meals, but my family goes all-out on Christmas morning in a way Joanne never expected. I’m the youngest of five kids, and between all of us and the grandkids, you can imagine we have no problem filling up the space under the tree. The first year my wife joined us for Christmas, she whispered to me that she had never seen so much wrapping paper in her life.



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