From The






From The


A Recipe for Holiday Cheer

Last week, while preparing for the Thanksgiving festivities, I was put in charge of baking dessert. This is usually my job every year because I love baking pies (I make a pretty mean apple pie with a lattice crust on top).

Every year, it’s always the same steps. First, make the pie crust and set it aside. Then, peel and cut all your granny smith apples and put them in a large pan with some water, cinnamon-sugar mixture, and a little bit of cornstarch. Wow! As I’m writing this, I can smell the yumminess in the kitchen.

Finally, put everything together in a pie tin and bake.

Once you put everything in the oven, your job is not over. Keep checking on the pie to make sure that it is cooking evenly, or that the crust isn’t burning. Don’t just set the timer and walk away. Kitchen appliances can be extremely finicky, so make sure to keep an eye on your pie. 

You might be asking yourself right now, why am I being told the recipe for baking a pie? Well, last week, when I was baking my apple pie, I was thinking about how the holidays are kind of a hard time for me. Which means, I purposefully take steps to ensure the holidays are filled with love.

And to me – it is just like baking a pie.

First, I want to make sure that I am in a place with my family. For me, most of the family I surround myself with isn’t blood-related, but rather amazing relationships I’ve developed over the years.

The next thing I do is show everyone how much they mean to me, which comes in so many different forms. I love buying gifts for people, whether that’s a bouquet of flowers, baking pastries, or picking up a cool hat for someone. Giving little presents means the world to me; it is how I show my love!

While I try to make the holidays as cheerful as possible, it is a process, much like baking a pie. I avoid any conversations about topics that will not bring me joy. For example, I love “borrowing” my older brother’s clothes, and he always throws a fit when he sees me wearing his outfits. So, during the holidays, I make sure I am that I am never wearing his clothes to avoid any awkward conversation.

We all know how the holidays go, so have fun, but be on your guard too. If you know you are going to run into your troublemaking uncle during the holidays, make sure you have a buffer friend with you to ease conversations. Whatever you need to do to make sure your holidays are what you want, DO IT.

While you follow an apple pie recipe this holiday season, follow your own recipe for holiday cheer too! But also – eat some pie; pie is delicious!

*Leadership Lesson*

Wishful thinking will only take you so far during the holidays. Maybe you are thinking, “Hopefully, they don’t ask me about my job or my significant other.” However, just thinking it is not preemptively doing anything to set you up for success this year. Rather than just hoping, write down what the most important things to you this holiday season are. Make a list of 10, then narrow it down to 5 or 6 items (very similar to our values assessment activity). Create a plan for those items. What proactive steps can you take to make sure you make all of those happen this year?

*Meet the Author*

Gino graduated from UCSD with dual-bachelor degrees in Neuroscience and Physiology. He has been with Leadership Inspirations for 6 years, both as a former Leadership Academy Participant and Leadership Coach!

Favorite Quote: “Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fun Facts: 1) I have 4 brothers and 4 sisters 2) My favorite TV series is Parks and Recreation and I quote it all the time 3) I love baking! Cheesecakes are my favorite to make