Loading...
Stop printing EBT cards and illegal immigration ceases to exist. Global warming would take a hit too....

The holidays aren't merry and bright for everyone

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax

Loading…

Carolyn Hax

Sunday, December 24, 2017

While I’m away, readers give the advice.

On people who seem to shut down around holidays:

Many people suffer from holiday depression. My husband had early memories of his parents screaming at each other. Until we talked this out, he had difficulty celebrating. — Been There

 

One December when I was in high school, our house burned down, my mother was already hospitalized, my father worked in a different city, and my grandmother, who was burned in the fire, died a few days later.

As an adult I would become very depressed around Thanksgiving and not know why until I talked it over with some friends. I realized I’d internalized all that pain and my body/mind recalled it like clockwork every year. Now I write myself a note in my new annual datebook to make preparations, as I know it’s coming, and I no longer endure the gray holidays like I used to. — K.

 

In the house I grew up in, holidays meant parents who would overindulge in alcohol and get very nasty in front of five children. Thanksgiving was hardest for me as a young adult because those memories didn’t involve trees, music or gifts — just drunk parents going at it.

My first joyful Thanksgiving was at age 27 when I was stationed in Europe with the Air Force and spent the holiday skiing in Switzerland. I learned holidays can be fun without turkey and stuffing (or drunk parents). — C.

 

On taking the gaaaahhhh out of gift-giving:

It’s a gift. If you give someone something and expect something in return, then it isn’t gifting — it’s a swap or trade. People give gifts because they want to make the other person happy. Expecting reciprocity is petty and dilutes the generosity of the giver.

In addition, the recipient is within their rights to do (practically) anything with gifts they receive. If I gave someone an expensive, hand-carved teak diorama and they said, “Thanks, this will make great kindling for my next weenie roast!” I now know that: (1) They like hot dogs; (2) They have a barbecue or firepit; and (3) A good future gift might be some wax-dipped pinecones or a bundle of fatwood with a nice bow.

If people want to make a business transaction out of this, they should give gifts and consider the smile on the recipient’s face to be payment in full. — De-commercialized

 

On loved ones who deluge your kids with stuff on holidays, whether you want them to or not not not:

I would discuss with the kids the idea of moving the immediate family’s gift-giving to a time you all choose together. They might like having a different day with presents and it would be a way to step away [from the excess]. June 25 could work. In fact, a general discussion with kids about the problem and ways to deal with it could help. — C.

 

Ask for the gift of memories for your children. Have the relative pay for tickets for the whole family to do wonderful things like “The Nutcracker” at Christmas or a day at the zoo in the summer. A movie on a rainy Saturday or a visit to the Arboretum on a pretty day. These are all pricey, which helps the givers’ need to prove their love by spending, and the parents should have a lot fewer things to donate. — K.

 

A lot of you suggested going the experience-gift route. Some other useful examples: lessons (swimming, tennis, music, etc., all typically expensive); memberships to museums; bookstore gift cards; family trips. And, charity: “Suggest [they] use the money to help an animal shelter or homeless shelter, with the kids accompanying to ‘jointly’ make the donations.”

 

Maybe the materially minded could deposit the money in college savings accounts? It would be a way for relatives to channel their love and financial means into the future. I’m 25, using money my grandmother set aside for me at childhood holidays to pay for graduate school now; meanwhile, sadly, I’ve forgotten a lot of the toys and gifts she gave to me years ago. — H.

In my experience, shoppers gonna shop, but if your letter converts even one stuff-buyer into a 529-stuffer, you’re my hero. Maybe this is the trick:

My husband and I discussed the issue with my generously over-giving parents, and we came up with a wonderful solution. My parents would give the kids a small toy along with a check toward future education. As the kids got older the toy changed into a book or another age-appropriate item. The kids never missed the hordes of presents, and were most grateful when those college years began. — C.A.

Email Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

October 20, 2018

What's the difference, botanically, between a "reed" and a "cane"? I'm not sure I know: both of these are very old words that tend to refer to hollow-stemmed, grass-like plants. Here is a plant that seems to fit, and is, as well, a true member of the grass family.

It is native to southern Europe,…

Arundo_donax6.jpg

October 19, 2018

Certified Angus beef, appetizers, and hand-crafted sandwiches and salads are just a few reasons why people love Angus Grill in Winterville. Now you can be even more excited because they have opened a new location in Greenville at 201 S. Jarvis St. Conveniently located within walking distance to the…

20181010_124801.jpg

October 19, 2018

Director David Gordon Green got his start with art-house dramas but is perhaps best known for the baked humor of "Pineapple Express." So it's apt that, despite plenty of gore, his version of "Halloween," the latest sequel to John Carpenter's 1978 slasher film, sometimes feels like a horror movie…

FILM-HALLOWEEN-REVIEW-ADV18

October 19, 2018

Dancer Rebecca Colenda has leaped and twirled on stages across the globe, but this weekend it is her turn to come back to where it all began.

The Pitt County native will dance a principal role in “The Scarlet Cord” on Sunday at Winterville's Reimage Church. Colenda, 25, who had her…

101918goballet-4.jpg

October 17, 2018

Certified Angus beef, appetizers, and hand-crafted sandwiches and salads are just a few reasons why people love Angus Grill in Winterville. Now you can be even more excited because they have opened a new location in Greenville at 201 S. Jarvis St. Conveniently located within walking distance to the…

20181010_125153.jpg

October 17, 2018

Q My doctors wants me to try the Mediterranean diet. He said I could have some red meat. How much is some? KP, Winterville.

A We recently visited President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s library and museum. I was intrigued by his physician’s diet prescription for the president in 1944. It…

KathyKolasa

October 17, 2018

Q My doctors wants me to try the Mediterranean diet. He said I could have some red meat. How much is some? KP, Winterville.

A We recently visited President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s library and museum. I was intrigued by his physician’s diet prescription for the president in 1944. It…

Kolasa, Kathy

October 14, 2018

I was a proud Boy Scout and Scout leader but had lost touch with the program.

However, my youngest grandson’s excitement over having just been signed up for Cub Scouts happened to open a window on some truly monumental changes in the Scouting world. Like me, you may have missed them.

The…

Bob Garner

October 14, 2018

Last month’s flooding from Hurricane Florence brought such bad news to New Bern and its neighboring cities, towns and communities.

There is a little bit of good news for New Bern this month.

The town’s best-selling author, Nicholas Sparks, is releasing a new book, “Every Breath.…

DGMartin

October 13, 2018

I was standing along the suburban Washington waterfront a couple of years ago when a Spanish galleon showed up, proving once again that if you wait long enough, everything comes full circle.

This is especially true in the gardening world. Houseplants, embraced by hirsute, plaid-draped baby boomers…

GARDENING1
246 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 25
        Next Page»   Last Page»