In the Village: What to do about the FOG

Published: Thursday, Dec. 1 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

On the contrary, the truth only increased the fun, and we began to look for tiny gifts to drop into our parents' HUH, so that they would be surprised by anonymous gifts that neither of them had bought for the other.

My older sister led the way in that, but we were eager to follow.

I don't mean to say that my parents' solution would be right for anyone else. My wife and I have modified even those limited traditions, and have added a few we learned from other sources.

In our house there has never been any nonsense about sooty fuel being placed in the HUH for misbehaving children.

With no punishments associated with Christmas, Christmas is never seen as a kind of judgment day.

It's a day of celebration, from the religious observances of Christmas Eve, including re-enactments (a requirement in our theatrical home!), to the one-at-a-time opening of gifts on Christmas morning, so that everybody's clever and thoughtful gifts to others could be seen and appreciated.

The competition on Christmas was never about who got the most or the best gifts. It was about who had come up with the most thoughtful, appropriate gifts on a limited budget.

We wondered what would come to us, from the FOG and others, but we were really on pins and needles to see what our loved ones would think of the gifts we had come up with for them.

In short, we were trained to be givers ourselves, ready to step into the role of FOG at a moment's notice, as soon as we found out that the position was vacant.

So, while I can't disagree with those who prefer to have FOG-free Christmas celebrations, I also see no harm and much joy and goodness in keeping FOG in a limited role in the celebration of the Savior's birth.

Orson Scott Card is a writer of nonfiction and fiction, from LDS works to popular fiction. A longer version of this column can be found at MormonTimes.com. Leave feedback for Card at www.nauvoo.com/contact_desnews.html.

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