"Christmas Traditions-Old and New"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, December 20, 2013

As we approach Christmas, many of us make comparisons to years past. Can you remember all the gifts you received last year or those that you gave others?

I was the oldest of four children and recall Christmas trees with lots of lights, ornaments and gifts galore. Many gifts were for the whole family to enjoy like sleds and wagons. There were smaller, practical gifts such as school clothes, mittens or boots. My sisters received handmade outfits, all matching. They also got dolls and I would get a ball glove or football. Each item was wrapped, even a pair of sox, and they overflowed all around the tree.

As time passed, I had my own family of four children — all girls. Many things changed, but some traditions stayed the same. When the girls were young, dollies (Betsy Wetsy comes to mind) were popular. Each doll needed a buggy and clothes. All of the Barbies of the era lived with us and had snazzy outfits to wear. An Easy Bake Oven was a big hit as well as a miniature rocking chair, for rocking with the dollies. My family also received gifts we could all enjoy: board games like Monopoly, checkers, Candy Cane, etc. When the girls got older, and we were all enjoying snowmobiling, gifts included suits, boots, gloves and helmets.

The gifts under our tree truly spread all over, and were even parked outside the year they got their own snowmobile.

Each of my girls have their own family and the traditions live on. We have spent Christmas with all of the four girls and, yes, the gifts overflow the tree.

It occurred to me that families could perhaps start a new tradition. As the holidays approach, gather together, take a break and sit around the family room and have a heart-to-heart talk. Each member could be asked to speak up and explain how they feel about family matters and how they see their place in the family’s future.

Parents seldom let the younger generation question what they do or why they do it. Although they may not wish to hear some things being said, if they control their emotions, they can gain insight on how their family feels about important lifestyle topics. Listening could make known a lot about subjects such as smoking, drinking, eating or other possible habitual traits.

Family group discussions could reveal how members feel about the increasing numbers of school shootings, illicit drugs, driving rules and laws. Challenges regarding how to face bullies and the need for their own money and how to earn it.

Some family members may wish to discuss their hopes for future education and how it may affect the family’s cash flow and savings. Limits on spending and borrowing could be a topic. They may ask if loans are available to help pay for advanced education. During the discussion on loans, the overall cost to repay them and how to deal with that should be brought up.

Items in the news may be talked about and each family member could speak about their feelings on various subjects.

The family talk may include ridicule of other family members but gently, without raising voices. It may be difficult to hold a family group idea session, but it could lead to better perceptions and a smoother run household.

Family chats could expose feelings that have gone unknown for years and lead to a more loving understanding and new traditions that could be passed on for generations.

Actually, time spent with the family, just talking about things that mean so much to them would be the best gift.

Enough serious talk. The chubby guy, wearing a red suit will be making his stops soon on his speedy reindeer transport, so you “better watch out.” You know the rest.

I want to wish all the Huron Daily Tribune readers a joyful happy holiday and prosperous new year!

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