DEAR ABBY: The holiday season is approaching and I am faced with my annual problem about Christmas.
My husband and I have been married for four years; we have no children as yet, but we both have busy careers. Every year since our marriage, my husband wants us to spend a peaceful Christmas at home, but each year so far, we have given in to my family's wishes that we spend Christmas Day with them.This involves driving 250 miles round trip, since my family's Christmases are always held at my brother's home because he has young children.
Last year, I suggested that the family get-together be held on either the weekend before, or after, Christmas. My parents and my brother promptly vetoed my suggestion.
Trying to solve this problem without making someone angry makes my holiday miserable. Can you offer some advice? -- DREADING CHRISTMAS
DEAR DREADING: You and your husband have the right to spend your Christmases in a manner that pleases YOU. Give your family and brother notice immediately and don't be meek or apologetic when you tell them you've decided to stay home for Christmas.
Once you make your declaration clear, perhaps your suggestion of visiting the weekend after Christmas will receive a merrier reception.
DEAR ABBY: The letter from the father who started to give his son an allowance at age 3 rang a bell with me. He urged his son to put half of his allowance in a piggy bank, and the other half he could spend. That's an excellent way to teach a child how to save.
I am a single mother who took this one step further with my 4-year-old daughter. Near the holiday season, she emptied her piggy bank and personally carried the bag of coins to the local Salvation Army representatives with the understanding that this was to help the less fortunate to have a happier holiday.
Last year was the first year, and she's already talking about all the money she saved for "the needy" this year.
Now she has learned not only how to save but also how to GIVE. -- A PROUD MOTHER
DEAR MOTHER: You have every right to be proud. Your daughter is lucky to have a mother such as you.
DEAR ABBY: How would you define success? -- PHILOSOPHY MAJOR, UCLA
DEAR STUDENT: Succinctly and simply put: "To succeed is to achieve one's goal." However, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882), my favorite American poet, essayist and philosopher, said it best when he wrote:
"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived -- this is to have succeeded."