Holiday Love Letters

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Find more about siblings, christmas, inspired ideas

"Love letter?" Grace, 6, asks incredulously. "You want me to write a love letter to Luke?"

Grace is typically very fond of writing things for her 2-year-old little brother — but they are more along the lines of "Keep Out," "Grace's Stuff," and "No Lukes Allowed."

"Yes, a love letter," I confirm. "We are all going to write them to each other as Christmas gifts."

Tears begin to literally squirt from Grace's eyes. Okay, I know little brothers can be a pain, but I'm not expecting this level of dramatic resistance to expressing written affection.

Through the gush of angst, it finally becomes clear that Grace has misunderstood the concept. Once I clarify that this is in addition to, not in place of toys and other gifts, Grace calms down and actually likes the idea.

Christmas is still weeks away, but I want to give everyone time to get on board with this new tradition. I was inspired to start after reading Richard Louv's book, THE WEB OF LIFE: WEAVING THE VALUES THAT SUSTAIN US. In this heartfelt collection of essays, Louv, a former columnist for The San Diego Tribune, writes about a family who didn't enjoy shopping and how they decided to make "love lists" for one another instead of Christmas lists.

I do enjoy shopping, sometimes too much, but even I get my fill of it during the holidays. And instead of bemoaning the commercial and material focus of the season, I want to take some positive action against it. This little tradition of taking time to express to one another what we appreciate, value, and love about each other seems like the perfect antidote as well as the perfect gift.

We plan to read our "Love Letters" on Christmas Eve, and I bought a special scrapbook so that I can collect them year after year. I think Louv puts it best, "Perhaps your family could try it, too. It's just an idea; life's short."

How do you keep the focus on family instead of gifts during the holidays? Click the comments link below to find and share ideas.

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Holiday Love Letters

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