Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Urges Others to Make Giving a Priority

DEAR HARRIETTE: My family has adopted a family in need for Christmas for many years. We find a family at my sister’s church and figure out what they need and want for the holidays. Then we pool our resources and buy food and gifts for them. It is such a wonderful practice, and I want to encourage your readers to consider giving to those who don’t have any extra money. It is not too late to share your good will and money to help other families. Even after Christmas Day, it isn’t too late. Every day there are people who can benefit from your generosity. Consider giving to someone in need. -- Time for Giving, Chicago

DEAR TIME FOR GIVING: Thank you for this reminder that this is the season for generosity. You are right that no matter where you are, you can give to someone else. Going to your house of worship to identify people to help is a great idea. You can also visit local community centers and homeless shelters to learn how they are organizing giving this season. Go online to find charities whose causes resonate with you. When you look up a charity, consider checking its status with Charity Navigator. This site will let you know if the charity is handling its affairs with precision. Make sure that you know where your money is going. Your generosity will make you -- and the recipient -- feel good. That’s the beauty of giving. It benefits everyone!

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Holidays & Celebrations | Money

DEAR HARRIETTE: My niece bought her grandmother a cellphone thinking it was a great idea. She bought her an iPhone so that she could receive photos from family members who are dispersed all over the country. Everybody thought this was wonderful, including her grandmother -- until she got the phone. This lovely lady is 83 years old, and she has never had a cellphone. She is having the worst time trying to figure out how to use it. It’s just not working. My niece is frustrated because she wants her grandmother to be able to use the phone. What can we do so that Grandma can be connected? -- No Cell Connection, Orlando, Florida

DEAR NO CELL CONNECTION: This happens to older people a lot, as newer cellphones can prove difficult for them to navigate. Some older people have problems simply seeing the screen because the numbers and letters are very small. Others can’t make their fingers work on the small surface. What you may want to do is have your niece return the smartphone and replace it with a simple flip phone that has a keyboard and not much else. Some flip phones have the ability to receive and transmit photos so that function may be available in a simpler phone. What you likely cannot get is the option of FaceTime or a similar service.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Miscellaneous