Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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December 7, 2012

THE DIRT ON GARDENING: Christmas season details change as couple ages

Some have their own theories and I have mine (I guess it’s called “to each his own”), but to me Christmas is a time for celebration, not only for the birth of Jesus, but also the family and the passed-down traditions of years gone by.

It was expected, for as long as I can remember (80 years and counting), to celebrate this holiday with the traditional Christmas tree, exchanging of gifts, laughter and excitement. To me it just isn’t Christmas without it.

Now, as I age, my wife and I celebrate on Christmas Eve to allow our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren their individual Christmases and morning excitement. One might say “the torch has been passed.”

While we could still hold these activities at our home, which we used to do, we now rent a hall because of the increasing size of our extended family (35 to 40 and growing) and the convenience it offers. Our condo is on two different levels, which meant that some were up and some were down and that, quite often, meant kids were on one level and adults on another — the hall makes it perfect.

As a child it was always something us kids looked forward to. My parents would tease us with hints of what “maybe” was coming and the excitement would increase each day leading up to that eventful “Christmas morning.”

It never had to be much, just a special toy or a “had-to-have” that made our day. Sometimes it was a sneak-peek in the closet, where gifts were hidden only to be reprimanded that Santa was watching and the gifts were going to go away.

When my wife and I were first married, my wife introduced a new form of teasing with one “shaker gift” that could be shaken once it appeared under the tree. Every day each child (all six of them) could shake their gift and guess what it might be. If the guess was correct they would get to open it as an early gift.

This activity was aggravated by concealing or dummying the gift by placing it in a tube or a larger-than-necessary box. It was as exciting as opening gifts on Christmas morning and always gave them something to look forward to each year. They still talk about it — you too should give it a try.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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