A family tradition passed on

We exchanged gifts every year with family, but there came a year when it was obvious to all – do we need all these gifts? And why are we still doing this? We were middle-aged, long past needing extra things for our homes and more sweaters to wear. Maybe it was time to think of others who truly were in need.

So, the adult members of the family agreed: what we had spent on larger family gifts would be contributed to a charity chosen by a different family member each year. We would still gift family members but would replace those larger gifts with smaller stocking gifts instead.

This year my sister-in-law, Barbara, sent us her choices:

1. I was so impressed with the work of chef Jose Andres and his World Central Kitchen in Puerto Rico–and now in California—that I’d like to support them

2. World Central Kitchen specializes in quick response to emergencies, but for ongoing relief where famine seems to be a permanent threat, I nominate the International Rescue Committee.

3. Finally, if you’re just looking for something different, I suggest your local public library.”

Now, our children have children, and we wondered how to help them to start thinking of giving to others. We decided to start a new gift for our grandchildren by giving them each a modest sum of money:

“to send to the charity of your choice to spread the Christmas cheer.  If you don’t know which charity to send it to, your parents or Nona and Papa can help you.”

We’re looking forward to talking to them about their choices and what they feel would make a difference.

Giving is part of our extended family’s holiday tradition, and now we look forward to the next generation continuing on.

We’ll leave you with a few photos taken on a very green walk down a path in Portland, Oregon’s Forest Park. A long walk in a park would be another holiday tradition worth passing along.

A pileated woodpecker

A joyous end of year to you all.


December 2017

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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8 Responses to A family tradition passed on

  1. LuAnn says:

    Totally agree with the new traditions you have established. It has been many years since we have exchanged gifts, choosing instead to give to those most in need. Happy holidays to you and your family.

  2. plaidcamper says:

    An excellent tradition! We reached the same point a few years ago, and now small gifts are exchanged with family members we see in person, otherwise cows and goats are sent, and refugee children equipped and educated. Genuine goodwill…
    Have a wonderful weekend, and fingers crossed you see snow, not rain!

  3. I love your family tradition, Beth and Joe and it’s a beautiful way to remember how much we all have by passing along some of our abundance to others. We had a hard time at the beginning of our big downsizing and lifestyle change convincing our families that no, we don’t want any more stuff and I love the “pass it on” idea. You don’t have to wander far to understand how truly fortunate we are. Happy Holidays to you both and I, too am looking forward to seeing you in the not-so-distant future!

  4. I like your new family traditions. Why are we so focused on “stuff”?
    Happy holidays to you.
    Best wishes,

  5. A good tradition to have started. We wish you a happy festive season and enjoy this time of the year with your family. See you in Luang Prabang in a few weeks.

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