December 2020: Questionable Advice

My neighborhood is gathering together for a few (virtual) celebrations this year. Being a diverse group, we’re having festivities for Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah and inviting people to talk about and share their holiday traditions, whether related to a particular religion or not. I could use some advice on how to make everyone feel included and at ease, even over Zoom.

Maddy

Hi Maddy, and Merry Everything to you. So, you’ll be doing this neighborhood celebration on Zoom? Great. Prop your laptop computer at one end of the dining room table and decorate the table with symbols of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah and Christmas, too. If head coverings are appropriate to the religions or beliefs, have each member of your family wear one, and all sit at the table shouting out greetings at the computer and raise wine glasses, if everyone wants to do that. Toasting with water is allowed. Then when your diverse neighbors tune in they’ll see all people, races, and religions honored at this time of year, and they’ll shout back! Joyful chaos!

It’s getting so cold! As winter storms start, I’m worried about losing power again. But my husband won’t fix the dang generator. Help!

—Lindsay

Oh Lindsay, Lindsay, Lindsay—this is 2020, nearly 2021, not 1950. First of all, no one says “dang” anymore.  Second, wives no longer wait for husbands to fix things, and “wait” is the key word here. What women do now is discuss the matter, as with any big expense.  Then they may ask one time that something as important as a generator gets fixed, and if it doesn’t get done within a reasonable amount of time—say, a week—they proceed to Google and find people who repair generators and line up appointments and be there for the appointments. Or they may proceed immediately straight to Google and call the nice repair people. Those people come to the house and do the work, hooray. When Mr. Husband comes home and sees what she’s done, the problem resolved, she smiles, kisses him, and says “Fixing the generator is a surprise gift for you this year, my darling. Happy New Year!” Or, since usually more than one thing breaks down each season, they alternate calling repair people.

We’re doing a Christmas movie marathon. What are your top ten?

—Jenn

(P.S. My boyfriend insists Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and I can’t convince him otherwise.)

Ummm—Die Hard? No. Maybe he means he’ll watch it at Christmas, but that fact and the office party scene and winter setting do not make it a Christmas movie. My top ten? Well, not all have a holiday theme, and the total won’t add up to ten exactly, but here goes:  White Christmas, You Can’t Take It with You, all Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies, all Busby Berkeley films, Gaslight, Sun Valley Serenade, It’s a Wonderful Life, all WWII movies where our boys find a way to celebrate Christmas in lots of rubble while at war, and Home Alone. And for something brand new, untested, but promising: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (release date for streaming and theaters: November 13, 2020). Who knows? It could be the next big holiday classic in the making, that people will be watching 50 years from now.

My two sons (10 and 12) love to shovel snow . . . though I can’t understand why. This year, I’ve been thinking of paying them to shovel our elderly neighbors’ driveways as well. I like to think that way, I can give the boys a small allowance while teaching them the value of helping other people. Do you think this is a good idea?

—Charlotte

Charlotte, that’s like a rhetorical question, right? Of course it’s a good idea. I think giving kids $$ to do good things like that gives them a sense of honor, respect, and importance. Getting a little cash for shoveling out elderly folks’ driveways is a good thing because it will evolve into their doing things like that for free as their lives progress. Furthermore, when your sons give you grandchildren, you’ll see your legacy has moved forward because they’ll encourage their kids to do the same thing for elderly or needy people. And then you’ll know you’ve won. So, Charlotte, paying your boys to shovel out those driveways for old folks is the gift that will keep on giving. You’ll see.

Author profile

We strive to bring our readers the best content possible and provide it to you free of charge. In order to make this possible we do utilize online ads.

We promise to not implement annoying advertising practices, including auto-playing videos and sounds.

Please whitelist our site or turn off your adblocker to view this content.

Thank you for your understanding.