How fitting that this is the 25th edition of my newsletter, which I so enjoy writing, and the 25th is what many of us are focused on this month! I don't know about you, but I adore Christmas, and even though I am desperately behind in preparation this year, I figure the most important thing is to be making plans for joyful times with friends and family...and THAT I have already started!
When I think back on Christmases past, I think of memories that have made the holiday special. First of all, my mother did so much to make our Christmas morning a child's delight. I'm not sure what your family's habit was, but in our house, gifts from Santa were unwrapped and under the tree, waiting on Christmas morning. I distinctly recall waiting with my brother until my mom was awake, and when she said so, we could go downstairs, and see what Santa had left for us. Later in the morning, we would see my Dallas (Clark) family for a wonderful Christmas breakfast, with special foods I will never forget, including salt mackerel and these yummy Sara Lee coffeecakes that they stopped making, unfortunately. I wonder if there is a single person reading this who also had salt mackerel for Christmas? Apparently, it was an East Coast tradition that my grandfather brought from Philadelphia. Every few years, someone in the family goes to the trouble to order it, and then we get to enjoy it like the old days. Later in the day, my mom would drive us to East Texas to see my father's family (Grumbles) in Atlanta, TX, and that was special too--a different set of cousins, and definitely a "country Christmas" vibe. I loved both settings and eagerly awaited the holiday season each year.
Whether you are looking forward to Christmas, already celebrated Hanukkah, or will enjoy Kwanzaa, my best wishes to you at this beautiful time of year and on into the New Year! May the lights of the season be a symbol of bright times ahead! As they say, "Happy Everything!"
(Above photo is us with our precious grandchildren, Brock, 8; Cory, 6; Jack, 5; Lala, 3), at the HP Christmas Tree Lighting).
Quick Real Estate Update
A popular misconception is that the world of real estate goes dormant between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Well, it really doesn't! Here's how it goes: there is pretty scant inventory--that's true. A lot of sellers pull their homes off the market and wait for spring. But some don't. Some folks actually need to move or are simply ready to get a property to its next owner. December/January, therefore, can actually be a great time to find a home. Instead of competing with 25 other people for each property, maybe just a few others are interested in a property that looks good to you. And maybe there is a home that has been sitting on the market because it "needs a little love and creativity." Deep winter can be a moment to secure a home for a little less. I've got a few active buyers right now, and we are still out there, checking new inventory and looking for opportunities. Of course, we all hope that early spring brings lots of new options.
Chris and I, and the entire TBG Team, feel very bullish about Dallas real estate for the foreseeable future. We do not see home values decreasing--far from it--and we continue to believe that real estate remains the best way to build financial security for the future.
Stuff I Adore
--"Last Christmas" by WHAM! Oh, how I love this song! It is, hands down, my favorite Christmas song. George Michael's vocal on this is amazing, but I also love how ridiculous the "plot" is. In short, some guy gave his heart away last Christmas, only to have his sweetheart reject him the very next day. But here he is, still singing about it a year later. Y'all, it was a ONE DAY ROMANCE. Let it go! Gosh, it makes me smile. I'm going to guess that most people reading this know "Last Christmas," but some of you won't. It came out in the 80s. When I hear it on the radio, I know Christmas is here. Before you decide I have bad values for loving such a silly song (and it is silly), let me say that my favorite religious Christmas song is "Silent Night." I love how peaceful and gentle it is. Hearing "Silent Night" takes me to the manger scene in my head, and I imagine the cold night and the story of the Nativity. Here's to the music of the season!
--Chardonnay: I should specify--and this is a little embarrassing--I prefer Kendall Jackson chardonnay, which is about $12 a bottle. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy "the finer chards"; it just means that KJ is my "go-to." Now this is a point of some teasing in my family, especially since Danny works in the alcohol business. You'd think I'd have a more sophisticated palate. But I don't. So there you have it. And while I'm admitting that much, I might as well add that I like my KJ on ice. I have a few friends who are with me on this (Steph, I'm looking at you!). I do have a growing fear that chardonnay is going the way of merlot, which is to say, falling out of fashion. Say it isn't so! Or if it is, I'm going down with the ship! I do not want Sauvignon Blanc; I do not want Pinot Grigio. Here's to the chard drinkers!
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