As newly retired parents to three young adult children, we have decided as a family to reframe our Christmas into something more meaningful than gifts to us. Rather than buying and receiving expensive items that our young adult children can't afford (with college loans and life expenses), we are starting new traditions with our family. Maybe you might want to use one or two yourself!
*To enjoy the grab bag, each person rolls a pair of dice. If they roll a 7 or 11 they choose one of the miscellaneous wrapped gifts and just hold on to it. When all the gifts have been taken, then you set a 2 minute timer and start rolling again. This time the 7 or 11 winner gets to TAKE a gift from one of the other players. You could make it the person's gift on the LEFT for a 7 and the person's gift on the RIGHT for an 11. If it's your OWN gift, you can choose to take the OPPOSITE side's gift. It's really just for fun and it won't come out evenly, which is why I suggest this for an adult game, not children. Of course after opening these small gifts, anyone can trade them around if desired.
We are still hanging Christmas stockings for all three of the kids (and a fiancé) where anyone can add anything special if they'd like. So parents can still get a low key way to give gift checks, gift cards or cash to help your young adults out without making them feel bad not having lavish gifts abound.
Personally, I told my kids that a gift to me could be a donation to mine or their favorite charitable organization (they can always use it!) or a donation of a food item for a food kitchen or local animal shelter.
I would also appreciate a handmade ornament with the current year's date on it for my tree. I especially like small framed photos of the family.
Happy Holidays Everyone! May you have a loving a meaningful time with your loved ones!
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The Christmas of 2005 was the best I can remember. That's saying a lot since my Dad had just died, and Mom was dying! Since my two sisters and I had our own families, it had been a long time that ALL of us would go to Mom's for Christmas.
Because we now have 4 generations of relatives we hire a hall. We do this about the 2nd Sunday of December. That way everyone knows every year when to plan to celebrate.
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At Christmas, my family usually all get together to celebrate. Our family is very multi-cultural, and this year, our house will be the gathering place. We have family members who are from India, who are Jewish, and African.
I know that in the past, we've only celebrated Xmas. I would like to be able to celebrate all, but I don't really know how to "integrate" everything in a smooth manner that won't offend anyone. Any suggestions?
By Brenda Burns from CA
Have you spoken to your family members to ask for ideas? They might be excited about celebrating other holidays beside Christmas and even be willing to pitch in to help make the gathering at your home extra special. What a lucky family to have so many holidays to celebrate!
For the Jewish Hannukah holiday, the most recognizable symbol is the Menorah, which has 9 candle holders:
8 for each of the 8 days of Hannukah, and one in the middle which is the shamash ("helper or servant"), the candle used to light the other candles.
This year Hannukah is from sunset on Dec 11 to sunset Dec 19. Hannukah is spelled other ways too, like Chanukah or Chanukkah or Hanukah.
The menorah and the candles celebrate the miracle of light, when olive oil in the ancient temple was only enough for one day, but miraculously lasted 8 days.
Having a menorah up at Christmas time would be very appropriate and welcome.
Your might consider having a holiday buffet dinner and have everyone bring their favorite family dishes to share with everyone.
I would think that honoring everyone's traditions would not be offensive to anyone! Contrary to what you may have heard, most Jewish people don't mind if they are wished a "Merry Christmas", and most Christians don't mind hearing about and celebrating other traditions. Diversity is a good thing, so don't be overly sensitive, especially since you're trying to do a good thing by discussing and celebrating diverse customs. Have fun!
Maybe you can do dessert from one culture, starters from another, sides from another, main from another. And ask the members to make the authentic dishes.