Ask Mr. Manners

‘Tis the season

It seems that each year Christmas comes earlier. To be completely honest, this year it felt that Halloween never really stood a chance. Once we passed the midway mark of October, Christmas arrived with TV commercials and billboards of holiday cheer. Christmas shopping began to spread like the plague before November 1. Christmas is important, but is it necessary to hurdle over two other holidays to move the holiday forward?

Regardless, Christmas is a time of giving but rather than focusing on the amount of gifts, how about this year we focus on the quality of the gifts. Rather than fussing over the newest piece of technology and wondering how it will fit into your already expanding arsenal of gizmos and gadgets, let’s build the memories that will last a lifetime. Let’s establish new traditions.

Hailing from a long line of Southern gentleman, my family lives across the East Coast. Each year, rather than spending the money on presents which then have to be packed into suitcases and checked with airlines (which I still never trust with anything of significant value), we all attended a college football game together. It’s not just any football game, it’s the Virginia Tech vs. Duke football game. This tradition gives us the chance to alternate traveling back to our alma maters and cheer on our favorite teams. Not to mention, because this is a gift, we get really great seats. It tends to even out in the end. The cost of the trip offsets the other gifts we would have exchanged.

Maybe college football isn’t your thing. That shouldn’t stop you. Perhaps you and your significant other could plan your annual vacation and pay for it using the Christmas fund. My partner and I do just that. Each year, rather than exchanging gifts, we pool our funds and use them toward a week away to somewhere tropical. We use this opportunity to explore the world, and enjoy the opportunity to get away during the coldest parts of a Utah winter.

Each tradition is different and they do not necessarily involve you planning a trip. Perhaps during the holiday season you can plan on volunteering. There are multiple opportunities and charities around Utah in need of volunteers. Some examples in our community include the Utah Aids Foundation and the Road Home, youth homeless shelter. So, pick something that is important to you and start a new tradition this year.

On a final note, make sure that as we prepare for a new year, that you also take the time to focus on each holiday rather than leaping forward to Christmas. Much like Nordstrom, I agree that the best time to deck the halls is the day after Thanksgiving? Why? I just like the idea of celebrating the holidays one at a time. And we can all agree, that no one — holidays included — likes being neglected.

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