One of the most beautiful and most revered Polish customs is the "breaking of the opłatek." The "opłatek" is a thin wafer, made of flour and water. On Christmas eve, the whole family gathers and waits impatiently for the appearance of the first star. A vacant chair and a place setting is reserved for the unexpected guest, always provided for in hospitable Polish American homes. The father or eldest member of the family reaches for the wafer, breaks it in half and gives one half to the mother. Then each of them breaks a small part of each other's piece and, after a warm kiss, they wish each other long life, good health, joy and happiness, not only for the holiday season, but for the coming year and for many years to come. Sometimes, the oplatek is sent, in a greeting card, to loved ones away from home.