We're counting down to December 25, and as the eight days of Chanukah happily coincide with Christmas this year, my family will likely pair fried latkes with prime rib in celebration. (It may not be kosher, but it's tasty.)
Because I didn't join my husband's tribe until my mid-thirties (a decade after our sons had been born) our holidays are a blend of Cliff's Chanukah traditions and my secular ones. (Santa Claus loomed large in my parent's household.) These blended traditions include good food, holiday lights, and calorie-laden sweets; the kind you only make and look forward to once a year. In a household filled with both menorahs and stockings (hung by the chimney with care), the holidays, for us, have primarily evolved into an opportunity to spend time together, irrespective of what else is going on.
And while I truly treasure this opportunity to connect with my family, I also use this time to reconnect with clients - past, present and future. As such, Jill and I have spent a fair amount of time this week delivering boxes of English toffee door to door. All in all, we will have delivered more than 300 boxes of Little John's toffee before the Christmas break It's my small way of saying, "Thank you for all your support. It means the world to me." (It really does!)
Because my "nice" list has grown so large, like Santa, I tend to drop the packages and run. (I could use a sleigh about now.) Albeit brief, this toffee-touchstone is a chance to observe my clients' lives up close and personal. From the small shoes on the doorsteps, to the hastily discarded sports equipment on the porches, to the festive decorations that dress the homes and doorways, the evidence of the lives inside are clearly busy, ever evolving and abundantly joyful.
And while I'm holding you hostage (you're obligated to read now that I've brought you candy), can I just say that it's incredibly rewarding to witness your journey and to be invited inside to see the "new kitchen," or "master bathroom" you've so wisely put put into place. (They're beautiful and yes, your home's value just increased.) I'm honored to be a part of your lives, to watch your children grow and go off to college, to share in your daily struggles and successes, and to hold the confidence of a loved one who has passed on too soon. (I understand. My family also suffered a loss this year when our dad quietly slipped away at the ripe old age of 89.)
No matter where you are in life, OR the challenges you have weathered, OR the moves you have made, OR whether there's a wreath on your door (or not), to quote my husband's music teacher: "Happy RamaHanukwanzmas" or "Merry Chanukawanzakah." (Admittedly, it use to be easier to wish someone "happy holidays.")
Still, it wasn't just toffee I was delivering, but the announcement that I have teamed up with my good friend and colleague, Sarah Abel, on our Piedmont listings. With Jill continuing on as our full-time project manager, the three of us can now deliver more time, more attention and more care to the clients we service and share - and that's as it should be. In other words, you'll be getting three of us for the price of one, so consider it a win-win for everyone involved. (I do!)
Moreover, with COMPASS' forward-thinking Concierge Program, we can also offer you the unrivaled opportunity to bring your home to market in its very best light at NO upfront cost to you. (BtTW, there's no additional cost, interest, or fees on this short-term loan.)
So with a year ahead that offers new challenges and opportunities, I want to wish you all health and happiness, love and laughter, and great success (however you define it). Here's to a fantastic 2020. I look forward to sharing the journey with you. Fa-la-la-la-la!
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.