Gretchen's Take: A tribute to my mom this Christmas season

I am so blessed this Christmas season to have both my parents still in my life. Today is a tribute to my mom, who turned 75 years young yesterday!

My mom has always been my inspiration. She taught me how to stick up for myself, believe in myself, go for my dreams, and never give up.

She spent an inordinate amount of time with me as a kid taking me to hundreds of violin lessons. She exhaustively tried to put me on a diet when doughnuts were just too good to pass up...

She made me believe I could actually win the Miss America pageant. And she gave me the confidence that I could -- after a lot of hard work -- also eventually host my own show on national TV.

With faith as our foundation, my mom has always been my rock through the good and bad times. Parents shape the life of a child, and I have been blessed. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that after raising all of us, my mom is still working, running our family business. Happy Birthday, Mom. Merry Christmas and above all thank you.