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Dear Santa: Christmas for Christmas Critics
Report to Moderator Old 06-02-2002 09:35 PM
MMC Editor
Views: 48,777
Replies: 0
By Kris Kringle

Dear Santa,

We are a large extended family. For years we held family reunions during the summer but for the last several years we have found it more convenient to hold our reunions around Christmas time. The problem isn't the reunion. The problem is Christmas. We have a diverse group -- some are religious, some are not. Some are fans of Christmas and a very few are critical of the whole season. This year, we play host to the event. We love Christmas in our house and it just won't be Christmas if we don't have a few elements of the holiday surrounding us as we gather family. What do we do?

Vern G. -- Round Rock, Texas

You sound like you've got a wonderful family. Congratulations! I wish more folks would consider family reunions such as yours during the Christmas holidays. How festive!

You've got what I like to call a good problem. And it is a wonderful opportunity.

First of all, your concerns are commendable. While you want what you want you are sensitive to the feelings of others. That's the Christmas spirit! Your diversity as a family is something to celebrate. I am certain that if these thoughts are crossing your mind they are likewise on the minds of others.

So I think your first step is to pick up the phone and seek advice. No, not from me or some other like-minded individual. I want you to find the grumpiest, Grinchiest Bah-humbugger in your group and ask him or her for advice. I'm willing to bet he's thinking about it and maybe worried about it, too. Call him up. Tell him your pure intentions. Give him an idea of what you want to do.

Then shut-up and listen.

Chances are he'll respond with more positive ideas and energy than you're anticipating. Give him the chance to surprise you.

My experience has been that most critics of Christmas aren't down on Christmas itself. They just don't want the stress and hassle so many other folks seem to put them through. Christmas can be a season of obligation and it can be overwhelming. Most critics tend to have abandoned that for what they consider higher ideals. You might be surprised that they are not really critics at all...just admirers of something more simple and less taxing.

Christmas can also be a time of reflection on serious issues many folks do not want to deal with. They may be feeling guilty of neglecting their spiritual life, they may have questions about their mortality or experiencing sadness associated with Christmases of their past that they either miss or regret. There can be a million issues and we just can't judge them for the reasons they don't do Christmas like the rest of us.

The pure purpose of your family reunions, I'm guessing, are to catch up on each other's lives, to spend time together, to pass to future generations the love and bonds that are family. Christmas is a great backdrop for that. But it should only be a backdrop. I'm sure that by giving your critics a say and showing sensitivity to their needs you'll experience all the warmth and love of Christmas that you desire.

Merry Christmas, my friend. I'm sure your family reunion and Christmas experience this year will be memorable. Please let us know how it turns out!
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