About seven years ago, my husband and I did something really crazy—we bought a house in Uruguay, with the idea of gradually spending most of the winter there (south of Brazil and east of Argentina). I grew up in New York State, where it’s beyond cold in the winter, and as I walked to school every day in my Catholic school blazer, pleated skirt and knee socks, I promised myself that one day I’d be sure my knees never froze again.

So nowadays, as the holidays approach, my thoughts turn somewhat to turkey and fir trees but also to our house in Las Flores, where Brad and I will spend the last few days of November and beyond, probably until New York City warms up. I absolutely adore being in Uruguay. Life is very easy, and the people couldn’t be nicer. They don’t get stressed. And I’ve tried to learn from them when I’m there. I think there’s something inside them that automatically asks, in certain situations, “Is this worth getting rattled by?”