This holiday season wasn't filled with too much shopping or indulging in the material things that really detract from celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. This holiday was truly enjoyable for me, spending lots of time with my friends and family. My one indulgence was making enough tamales to share with family, friends, co-workers, knitting friends and neighbors. I made 44 dozen tamales total: 20 dozen pork, 12 dozen butternut, 6 dozen vegetable and 6 dozen turkey. This was completed over 3 1/2 days, so it wasn't as exhausting as it sounds. During the past 3 years, I've helped my older sister make tamales, learned under her guidance and gauged how long the process took from start to finish. This year I went from apprentice to official tamal maker...with the approval of my older sister. There's a lot of satisfaction in knowing I made something very special to share with others...much like sharing a piece of your knitting. Cooking for others brings a similar satisfaction. And with tamales, I'm sharing a part of my cultural heritage that others can enjoy. Only once a year, though. And that makes tamales pretty special. Hope your holidays are merry and bright. And hope you have a safe, joyous New Year!