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Family Chatter

deck the hallsRaise your hand if you're ready for Christmas! You in the back, waving your hand like mad? The rest of the world thinks you're exceptionally annoying. Here is how the rest of us approach the big old granddaddy of all the holidays! Warning: it's not a pretty picture at times.

(Mom): Before starting, put on a CD of your favorite Christmas carols. Pull up the camera function on your phone (you will surely creating new memories today). Find the handprint and "Baby's First..." ornaments. Line them up and reminisce about rosy cheeks and tiny hands. Find the ornament you bought on your honeymoon and sigh; think longingly of your once-taut tummy and toned thighs. Place these and the rest of your 1,274 decorations on the tree. Make sure the photo ornaments face outward and the fragile ones are up high. Step back, snap a photo and text it to your best friend for her expert input. When she responds, move the snowman ornament two boughs higher and the glittery angel a few inches to the left. Turn the house lights off, sink into the couch and bask in the soft glow of tiny twinkle lights.

(Dad): This one is tricky, as it involves high places, whipping winds and many words not suitable for a family publication. Edited version: Wait until the week before Christmas when all the other houses on your street are gloriously bedecked with lights. After yet another exhausting commute and interminable game of "horsie" with the brood, drag out your extension ladder on the $@*!)# coldest night of December and commence to keeping up with the Joneses. Mutter under your breath about the electric bill that will result from this ridiculous "tradition" while balancing precariously on the roof. Get half the lights up and declare, "Good enough." Think unseasonable thoughts about the Joneses and all the rest of the neighbors who have nothing better to do than over-illuminate their yards. Stomp into the house and congratulate yourself on the fact that least you missed supervising bath time.

(Kids): Widely ranging attitudes and "contributions" depending on age. Toddler years are the trickiest because all the little tot wants to do is pull the tree down on his head or grab the bright and shiny things off it and smash them with his Little Tikes hammer. Extreme caution must be exercised between the ages of 1 and 4, unless your holiday plans easily accommodate an ER trip.
School-age is a "sweet spot." Kids are enthusiastic! Some believe in Santa! They want to help! They want to put all the decorations on exactly three boughs! You must be quick and subtle to reposition as many of these as possible before the tree lists to one side and topples over. You don't want to repeat that ER visit from '09, do you?!

Teenagers are similar to Dad in that their reactions are often unprintable. Their least-offensive sentiments include ennui at the entire business of decorating (Who has time for that? There are texts to send! Texts to receive! Instagram to upload to!) and excruciating embarrassment over being forced revisit the decoupage snowman they made in kindergarten.
Yes, you'll be making memories this holiday season. Whether or not you decide to document them all for posterity, well, that is up to you!

Mary Becelia lives with her familly in southern Stafford county.

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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.

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