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Editor’s Note


No Trifling Matter


I have many fond memories of my childhood holidays. The grand organ music booming through the church on Christmas Eve; the desperate wait for the clock to inch toward 5 a.m. — the designated hour when my sister and I could finally wake our parents. And of course, the presents.

But now that I’m an adult, one holiday memory stands out above all the rest: the trifle. In our house, this creamy concoction — a traditional British holiday dessert — was served only on Christmas Day. After the frenzied unwrapping of presents, we would turn our attention to preparing it,  layering first the lady fingers, then the homemade custard, next fruit or jello, and then — finally — the whipped cream (with the inevitable battle over who got to lick the beater with the most cream left on it). The thing I loved most about trifle (besides devouring it) was my mother’s stories about eating it as a little girl in post-World War II England. Even when times were tough ( it took me years to realize that my mother’s descriptions of her Oliver Twist-like childhood were highly exaggerated), they always had trifle on Christmas. Our lives in New York were a world apart from my mother’s London youth, but this dessert united us through the generations.

Our article “Holiday Treats” introduces you to six international holiday desserts. We fill you in on the unique traditions associated with these sweets, offer recipes from top local chefs, and let you know where you can buy them already prepared. We also give you the who, what, where and how on another well-loved holiday tradition: cutting down your own Christmas tree. My husband and I haven’t done this … yet. I do admit, however, to having spent a ridiculous amount of time in past years analyzing the shape and fullness of several pre-cut trees. Now that I know all about the different varieties of trees, as well as the subtle differences in hues and aroma —well, I may need to reserve an entire day to pick my perfect holiday tree. 

In this issue, we’ve also included a story on the recent explosion of knitting groups in the Valley. Who knows? If you take a lesson and hook up with a local group, you might be able to knit some of next year’s gifts — creating a whole new holiday tradition!

Whatever your traditions, old and new — Happy Holidays!


Olivia J. Abel



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