"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving." — Mother Theresa
Merry Christmas to all those who celebrated yesterday, and Happy Holidays to everyone! I'm visiting family in Pittsburgh for Christmas, and I love watching everyone open their gifts from me. A while back I started a tradition of collecting meaningful souvenirs for loved ones during my worldly travels and saving them all year until Christmas for truly unique gifts from across the globe! This year they received products made with cocoa from Choco-Story in Valladolid, Mexico; traditional handmade holiday ornaments and other treats from Salzburg, Austria; Pinocchio toys and books in Italian (for my cousin studying the language) from Pinoccio Park in Collodi, Italy; playful pottery created by my new friend, the ceramist Pablo Seminario, in his studio in Urubamba, located in Peru's Sacred Valley, and delicious gifts from Spain: salt from Gran Canaria and wine from Mallorca. Another cousin collects stones, minerals, and gems, and I brought him back amber and bright blue larimar from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and an obsidian stone from Chichen Itza, Mexico. Mayans favored obsidian like gold and used it as a form of currency, and the Dominican Republic is the only place with larimar. An aunt who collects glass paperweights and another who collects thimbles saw their collections grow too.
This way of gifting shows my friends and family I think of them throughout the year, even when off in far away lands. And it's a way of bringing home to them little pieces of other cultures to see, feel, taste, smell, and enjoy. I put care and thought into each memento, and the love behind each gift is what means the most to me at Christmas time. A gift without love is just an object. The love that inspired the gift is what makes it valuable and precious. Whatever gifts you give and receive, throughout the year, may they be curated with care and inspire joy and happy memories for you and your loved ones.
The photo above of me is at my expo hall table last week at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce annual Winter Gala, my third in a row as an exhibitor. Each of those years I've celebrated an increase in sales since the pandemic, and each year my smile gets bigger in these photos - thanks to you! I'm so grateful for the gift of your time reading Muse News and the gift of your trust in working with me as your travel advisor for your adventures. Thank you for another incredible year for Nine Muses Travel!
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