We had a great Thanksgiving weekend. All the kids came home, and Saturday they put up my outdoor decorations. Talk about a Christmas present!
We can all make the holidays really great for all those around us if we think outside our strict rules of how it should be. Most families have traditions and schedules for who comes and when. Some of you know exactly what each person will bring and how much. Some of us will be lucky enough to be invited to other gatherings believing we have done enough of those big meals.
If you are the host, keep in mind the generational needs of the added in-laws, partners, ex-in-laws, fiancees and other combinations and their families’ traditions. Be considerate and ask what is good for all, and be gracious about the answer. We old folks have manners.
If you are the host and hostess, make up craft materials, so guests can make silly or serious hats to wear and be sure and take a picture. You can even award prizes. We have had people mutiny, and they were threatened with no meal or gifts. It works wonders. Any craft activity will do as they eat appetizers and wait for the finished meal or other guests to arrive.
Be sure and rest whenever you can and try to keep your routines. It is so nice to have fewer obligations and be able to enjoy the music, colors and joy of being together with friends or family for coffee and cookies after a concert or church. Gratitude comes into play here of course. We start to lose our friends, so time is precious, and the holidays give us a chance to greet one another.
Keep in mind your Jewish friends and be sure to greet folks of other faiths and religions as well. It is Christmas. It is the time of generosity and thoughtfulness that we all hope we can continue practicing all year around. Now, I have to excuse myself. I have to make my hat. Be kind and Happy Holidays.
Nedda Simon of rural Princeton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.