Dear Candid Candace: I have a holiday dinner cooking quandary for you. Our family always hosts a big Christmas dinner. I am always amazed at the amount of cooking, shopping, preparation and planning—not to mention time and effort it takes to put it all together—for the relatives and other family members. Full disclosure, my wife does all the cooking, but clean-up is my department and that can take a long time as well. I always suggest just ordering the dinner from a restaurant and picking it up (so much easier) but I get shot down every year. Your thoughts?
Too Much Time Washing Dishes
Dear Too Much Time: I know how you feel, and it does seem like such a shame that all of this time and effort goes into something that is gone in a flash. But this is exactly what the joy of the holidays is all about. It’s the time you spend with family—shopping for the food, preparing it together and sharing stories and memories throughout the entire process—that makes this “long” prep time such a lasting memory. I remember when I was a child baking Christmas cookies (well, more like making a mess) with my mom. We laughed at our mistakes, sampled the dough, remembered past relatives whose dish it was and so much more. Do I remember eating the cookie? No, but I sure remember everything else that transpired around the baking process. Maybe gather a few kids around the sink, have them dry and then share a few holiday memories of your own.
Dear Candid Candace: My children get many gifts from Santa. There’s a pile for each child as tall as they are and every year it gets bigger. Santa did not visit me when I was young but my parents very generously gave me one present each year that was something I liked. My husband thinks the over-the-top Santa gifts are great! How do I teach my children and my husband about not wasting without being a Grinch?
Should I Feel Guilty
Dear Should I Feel Guilty: Gift giving is a big question these days—how much is too much and how little is not enough? Growing up, my parents showered me with gifts since I was the only child of divorced parents. I have since followed their lead with my own gift-giving. It’s a joy to be able to give gifts to those you love. However, especially for young children, I think it would be important, and a great lesson, if you made them aware of the fact that not all children are as lucky as they are. Let them know about the “other side” of life too. Maybe asking them to purchase a gift for a child in need will help them appreciate their own situation as well as put a smile on that child’s face.
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