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Changing Holiday Traditions

Every December, I vow that this year things will be different and every year I do the same thing. I rush from one store to another in an effort to find items I can mark off my list of gifts to purchase. Add to this the frenzy of ball games and events we attend, then mix in late-night gift-wrapping sessions and grocery shopping. By the time Christmas Day arrives, you can find me beneath the Christmas tree covered with torn wrapping paper, passed out from exhaustion.

In the past, I have tried to talk my family into packing up and going away for the holidays. No gifts, no cooking, just rest and relaxation and enjoying each other’s company. So far, I haven’t been able to convince them this is a good idea, and I sort of understand. There are a few family traditions that are too special to change.

Most of us have memories of growing up and waking to the wonder of a beautiful tree surrounded by stacks of presents. In our memories, Christmas was a magical holiday, mainly because our mothers were doing the work and all we had to do was show up and eat.

This year, the world is an economic mess. The idea of going out and buying gifts for people who already have enough of everything holds no appeal. Last year, my best friend gave me a very unusual Christmas present. I opened up a card to find a slip of paper inside that said something like, “Congratulations, you now own a goat.” The goat is in Africa and belongs to a family who needs the goat much more than I need new dishes or knickknacks.

Christmas at the Kindred house this year will be a scaled-down version of years past. I can cut back, but I don’t have the heart to cut out those things that are near and dear to my children’s hearts. One thing I can do, though, is follow my friend’s example. This Christmas, somewhere in Africa someone is getting a new goat.

You can purchase animals for needy families from several world-aid organizations, including www.heifer.com (click on “Heifer International Charity”).

Happy holidays from our house to yours.

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