This year I missed the spontaneous "Merry Christmas" wishes that used to surface so often once Thanksgiving had passed -- good wishes from friends, retail clerks, occasional strangers. Apparently political correctness has gotten the best of us -- instead of well-wishing, we now say nothing, because "Season's greetings" and "Happy holidays" are just too bland to be meaningful.
It reminded me of the preschool I had visited one Valentine's Day when my son was a child. There had been no hearts or love ditties on the bulletin board or any indication at all that Valentine's Day exists in our culture. When I asked the headmistress why, she said something like, "We don't celebrate any holidays. We don't want to offend anyone!"
So this year I decided -- realized -- it would be OK to say to everyone, "Merry Christmas, AND Happy Hannukah" -- both. Because both are with us regardless of what religion we follow. Both are part of the season.
And if there were a chance that someone I encountered might celebrate Kwanzaa or something else in this season, I'd either say, "Happy Kwanzaa, too" or ask if that person had his or her own holiday to celebrate.
In that freedom of spirit this issue of Nanny News offers thoughts on charities one can contribute to at any time of year.(Also a quick piece on getting out in the cold.) It's something like saying that there's no reason to wait for birthdays or holidays to give -- to anyone -- a gift that says, "I love you."
The Staff at Nanny.com
It's cold out now -- sometimes hard to get outside to enjoy a walk or a bike ride, tempting to drive everywhere, even if just down the block or from one store to another.
I remember how we used to drive to town, decades ago, find a parking spot, and then walk to stores, sometimes from one end of town -- really just one main street -- to the other. It didn't occur to us to un-park in order not to have to walk for the next errand on the list.
Now, though, I find myself tempted to park at one big box store and then drive to the next, even if the two are just on opposite sides of the parking lot. Is it because parking lots are so less friendly to walk through than a neighborhood of shops and people? The wind whips, or the rain spatters, cars back into my way, and there's nothing much to look at or enjoy.
I watch parents with strollers, outdoors getting exercise themselves and admittedly fresh air for the toddler in the stroller, but I wonder sometimes when it is that that little one will be expected -- allowed? -- to get out and walk.
Another thought: I recently ran into a woman changing her baby's diaper in an airport restroom. She noted that it would only get harder as her baby became a toddler, kicking while Mom struggled to get the job done. And I remembered how, as a Montessori nursery teacher, I had helped children out of the diaper habit by encouraging them to get the diaper off and on for themselves -- they would start by going to the shelf to get the clean replacement. Allowed such self-reliance, offered that intermediate step of participating in the project, they soon found that they could also consider assuming responsibility for toileting themselves.
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I was so happy this year to discover that my grandchildren (boy age 8 and girl age 12) didn't get a lot of expensive toys for Christmas. There were books, a few shirts and T-shirts, a bracelet, some small things, but nothing loud, fast, garish or likely to break with a few days' use.
Even more delightful was the pleasure they took in their gifts. The assorted little things I contributed -- a pad of placemat-sized instructions for drawing horses, giraffes, cars, and a large eraser that says OMG! for him, so conscientious about homework that he really needs it; a Journal of Lists ("List your friends and their birthdays," "List the books you have read this year," and many more), and a first pair of earrings for her -- seemed about right because they already have everything they need -- their needs are satisfied in the normal course of the year and do not wait for Christmas. They, and we, are very fortunate.
Others, of course, are not so fortunate. Each year New York times reporter Nicholas Kristoff lists his pick of small charities for Christmas giving (Slide Show A Giving Guide), organizations that provide books for American children who have none, or water filters for Afghan families without drinking water -- basics that we take for granted.
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These articles provide information of a general nature only, and should be used only to supplement your knowledge. We hope you find the articles interesting, but Nanny.com cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in these articles. Nothing in these articles is intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your own physician if you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child.
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