It is that time again where I will be signing off until the New Year to take time to spend the holiday season with family and great friends. As the youngest girl of nine children, money was always tight and my parents could not realistically afford to buy us all gifts. I am actually quite happy about that as I can truly say that my fondest memories of Christmas involved spending time with my parents, five brothers, and three sisters at our huge dinner table on Christmas Eve. We would spend about three hours together, starting off by going around the room and individually hugging each family member to wish them the best, then raising a glass of wine (regardless if one was anywhere near legal drinking age) to toast the past year, and finally sitting down to enjoy conversation and lots of ethnic food.
I would like to wish you and your families a very peaceful and joyous holiday, extending the same sentiments to my own family pictured to the right in 1973. Standing in the top row behind the couch from left to right is my sister Mirga (Indianapolis, IN), oldest brother Vytas (Chapel Hill, NC), oldest sister Danute (aka “Bunki”, Boulder, CO), and brother Raimis (Cleveland, OH). From left to right sitting on the couch is my brother Jonas (Corning, NY), brother Saulius (Seattle, WA), sister Sigute (Boulder, CO), brother Audrius (aka “Vince”, St. Louis, MO) and me, Aukse “A.U.” Bankaits! All the best to you and see you in 2012!