The holidays are upon us. Do not be persuaded otherwise. For those of us who have put things off, I am here to say we can wait no longer. For many of us, holidays remind us of all the people who are not here to celebrate with us. Our sadness over missing people at the celebrations might be a contributing factor in our not engaging earlier in preparations. I know I am guilty of this. In an effort to bring my grief along with me as I prepare, I do little things to help me remember the love I have for them and celebrate their love for me in my life. For example, I like to set the table with some reminders of those I miss. It makes me feel that they are still participating in our gathering. I also like to incorporate recipes in my menus that remind me of people I love, but have died. In our Thanksgiving celebration, my family makes a creamed onion recipe that has been served at family Thanksgivings for at least four generations. It comes down through the female line and I think every woman has put her own spin on it. I like these traditions because they tie the generations through love and joy. If we find ourselves without family plates or recipes, we always have story. Stories bind family together, teaching the younger generation family history and values. We might use a dish as a jumping off point, but the stories we share allows us to remember we are part of a larger whole that struggled, loved and lived. By story telling we unite the past and the present through our memories of those who no longer grace our tables. May we find peace in the memories of those who have gone before us this holiday season.