Some people have Christmas in their hearts all year round. Happily, my mother is one of them. You might say she was destined for it–her first name is Carol, her birthday is December 24, and my father’s birthday is December 23. So, Christmas is quite an event in our family. But, it wouldn’t be nearly as special without the joy, warmth, and love my mother brings with her. She keeps this attitude 365 days a year and spreads this mirth to those who surround her.

Sure, we tease her about the stack of Christmas CDs in her car, with artists ranging from Elvis to Bing Crosby to Madonna. Secretly, we like it! We like the happy tunes, the faithful message, and the smile it puts on mom’s face as she joyously sings along with them every day of the year.

She carries Christmas in her heart and passes it out like a secret to happiness. She doles it out with an extra kiss as we walk out the door, saying a kind word to a stranger, always coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, and a million other small things that make a difference to the family, friends, and strangers who are lucky enough to have her in their lives.

There are other people like this in Scripps Ranch. People who love their neighbor, respect their community, and do those little things that make Scripps Ranch the best place to live in San Diego. It was that community attitude that led my parents to move here 20 years ago.

I have been blessed with 20 holiday seasons on the Ranch, and I can’t wait for 20 more. My husband and I will celebrate Christmas with our 1-year-old in our own Scripps Ranch home, about two miles from where my parents still live. I am amazed at all of the holiday memories my husband Mike and I get to pass on to our daughter, Ashley.

I expect the first thing a 1-year-old will notice this year is the beautifully trimmed homes. The twinkling lights, the lawn ornaments, and the shiny paper and ribbon are sure to be a hit with new inquiring minds. I remember decorating our first Christmas tree in Scripps Ranch. I was so excited about having a new, tall ceiling that would allow as big a Christmas tree as my mom wanted.

The second thing I hope Ashley experiences is the happy sound of people’s voices. Have you ever noticed that people’s voices change around the holidays? There is more patience, more joy, and a general feeling of peace surrounding their words. Even through the hustle and bustle of the long holiday to-do list, most people have a happy heart and a positive attitude.

In the years to come there are many other things I wish for Ashley to learn about the holidays. I hope she grasps the real reason for Christmas, and the love of our Lord who gave us all we have. I hope she gets to learn about the holidays of all religions.

I distinctly remember going to my first Hanukkah party when I was about 11. I really enjoyed learning how to play dreidel, eating noodle kugel, and seeing the blue and silver decorations. My Jewish friends happily answered my questions, opened themselves and their home to my inquiring mind, and broadened my horizons to learn to respect everyone’s holiday. I will always be grateful for that Hanukkah party because it made a difference in my outlook and expanded the Christmas that was already in my heart.

So, this year, I will try to expand my horizons again, to carry Christmas in my heart all year round instead of writing off that happy feeling when New Year’s Day comes around. I want Ashley, my family, and my neighbors to know that I have that secret to happiness in my heart –just as my mom does.

I know we can look forward to many happy holiday seasons in Scripps Ranch, surrounded by a true community. Thank you, Scripps Ranch, for a wonderful childhood and the promise of the same for my own daughter! Happy holidays to all of you on the Ranch!

Lori Pearce