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Front Page » December 1, 2011 » Senior Focus » Remember the season
Published 1,002 days ago

Remember the season


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Sometimes in the crazy goings-on in the holiday season we forget what it is all about. The wild mornings on Black Friday at stores shows that it is easy to get caught up in materialism and to ignore the better part of Christmas.

Holiday etiquette when we either shop or spend time at other people's houses is something we should observe and hope that others will too. Holiday etiquette also applies to everyone at every age. Children can be much more forgiven for violating rules than adults and seniors. Yet sometimes in stores grownups act like we believe children would.

The etiquette for this holiday is really very simple. It is all about thinking of the needs of others. It is all about being grateful for what you receive. These simple thoughts and feelings will bring meaning to your holidays.

The first point is to display kindness while shopping. For some reason, manners and etiquette seem to be thrown out of the window during shopping. Use the golden rule and be kind to others, even if there is a sale on and only a limited number of the items you are looking are available.

Another point of etiquette is to know when to hold and when to fold, in terms of staying on at neighbors or relatives. Usually few people stay overnight at friends' places at Christmas, but many seniors stay at their kids' houses for the holidays. The reasons vary, but if they are far away and the seniors have grandchildren, they want to be there for the fun.

While staying over is good, one must be careful not to wear out one's welcome. If you are traveling across the country the expected length of stay would be much longer than say a person lives less than 150 miles away. For those that want the thrill of Christmas Eve and morning with the grandkids, keep it close to that. Four days at the most; maybe two before Christmas and a couple after. This is particularly true if accomodations at the children's home is not really set up or has room for visitors.

Many seniors also have small dogs or cats that they don't really like being separated from. Regardless of what people say is okay, be sure to be observant about how people react to animals in or around their home. If they rent the animal many not be able to come into the home. And it is unfair to keep a dog out in a kennel in the garage all the time over an extended period of time, just because you don't want to leave them home. If the place you are staying already has animals, that may seem like an invitation, but questions about that need to be raised just like those concerning if animals can be there at all. Sometimes animals will not get along with each other. Just be considerate and be sure.

Christmas can be an emotional time too. Death of loved ones in the past year or in the past around the holidays can affect those you are around or you yourself. Understand if not everyone is all happy and glad the holidays are taking place. Sometimes the best gift a person can get from someone is a good talk about the past or remembering those who have passed. Understand that some people just aren't that jolly around Christmas for a number of reasons. People also feel pressure to be something they are not: happy. There is no more depressing time of year for some people, so respect people's feelings.

Emotions can also run high on the anger side of the scale. Past Christmas stories can sometimes be the catalyst for angry exchanges, even though one person may see whatever as said as funny the other may not. But whatever causes anger is not good, and can last for a long time.

A friend of mine told me of her Irish dad with a temper to match. Something happened on Christmas Day when she was a child and her father got so mad he refused to open his presents. They sat under the tree until New Year's Day when it came down and then sat in the corner of the living room because he wouldn't open them.

It wasn't until that next summer, in August, when he was finally convinced to open his presents. Whoever made him mad probably spoiled Christmas for him, and for them as well.

Seniors may be alone or in the middle of financial woes. They may not feel good because their health is going down hill. The reasons for less joy that expected can be many.

Just try to understand.

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