Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Therapist Recommends Speaking to Wild Child's Parents

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband doesn’t care about holiday gifts and feels that it’s a racket that we all get gifts for each other every year. I agree that we shouldn’t go crazy with spending, but I grew up in a home where the holidays were important and gifts were a key part of that. We have young children, and I think it’s important to give them a few gifts under the tree. It’s always a battle with my husband. How can I get him to participate more actively with this moment of connection in our family? -- Scrooge, Arlington, Virginia

DEAR SCROOGE: Bring some depth to the moment. Perhaps that will help your husband. In my family, my 89-year-old mother leads us in prayer before anyone can open a present. She reminds us of the bounty of blessings in our lives and asks us to remember those who may have less than we do. This helps to give context to the moment.

Another thing my family does that you may want to consider is to adopt a family from my sister’s church and provide resources for them to have a healthy meal and gifts -- both practical and fun -- for the children. Your husband may appreciate the idea of supporting those in need at a time when some are enjoying excesses.

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