A new Christmas tradition
DEAR READERS: Today’s sound on is about creating new family traditions. — Heloise
“Dear Heloise: Every family has its own traditions for Christmas. My husband and I both came from families that had huge gatherings at someone’s home, but all of the family lived within a few miles of each other. Today, we’re all spread out across the country, so we reserve Christmas Eve just for us, have a nice dinner at home, call family to wish them a happy holiday, open our gifts and then relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the lights on the tree. Christmas Day, everyone is welcome to our buffet.
“These are new traditions for us, but we like them, and being so far away from the rest of the family gave us the opportunity to start a few new traditions of our own.” — Grace and Joseph S., Tacoma, Wash.
DEAR HELOISE: While I admire “designer trees” with all the matching balls and bows on them, my all-time favorite is the one with memories. Shortly after we were married, I asked my mother-in-law for a few Christmas ornaments from their collection, so I could use them on our tree. I did the same thing with my mother, who sent me a couple of very old glass ornaments from my childhood. My grandmother sent me three handmade ornaments from Poland that had always been on her tree. Over the years, I’ve received ornaments from various friends and family, and picked up some on our travels. This has made our Christmas tree very special to us. — Hattie C., Kalamazoo, Mich.
DEAR HELOISE: This year I did something a little different. The kids (ages 5, 8 and 10) and I got together about five weeks before the holidays and made our ornaments for the tree. I bought plain balls, glue glitter and ribbon, and turned them loose to make whatever they wanted. The 5-year-old made a construction paper chain for a garland, and we put some of our Christmas cards on the tree as well. It was so nice to see all three of them really engage in the holidays. — Darla T., Carrington, N.D.
DEAR HELOISE: This year I was planning to have my children write thank-you notes to those who gave them gifts. They’re 11 and 13, and I feel it’s time that they started to do their own thank-yous. My husband disagrees. He said they will do it when they’re adults. Who’s right? — Denise O’R., Texarkana, Ark.
Denise, you’re both right. Children are able to express a thank-you verbally at a young age, and they should start writing their thank-you notes by second or third grade, then keep it up all through life, which of course includes adulthood. It’s never too early to learn a little gratitude. — Heloise