We’re about to celebrate our babies’ (twins) first birthday. However, my wife and I are not interested in cake, ice cream, party, presents, etc. How do we co-exist with the masses, particularly our family, who expect this type of celebration? This goes for ALL holidays; the true meaning of many holy-days has been lost. Any advice on how to create more meaningful celebrations and include family and friends on our terms?

Happy Birthday to your twins! It is hard for a family to chart its own path in our consumption-driven culture, but it is not impossible. In some ways, it’s getting easier. More and more families are getting tired of the meaninglessness of so much of what passes for celebration these days. They are summoning up the courage to make their own way and winning the respect of their family, friends, and neighbors in the process. Stand up for what you believe. Let the people in your life know that you have decided to do your family celebrations differently—in ways that make them more meaningful to you and to your children. Here is one useful resource: Good Times Made Simple: The Lost Art of Fun produced by the Center for a New American Dream, available at www.newdream.org/kids/brochure.php. Listen to your own drummer—and happy celebrations!

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