Relationships and Extended Family at Christmas

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Extended family gatherings used to be a hallmark of Christmas celebrations. Watch our short video about holiday celebrations.

Bel Mooney wrote a disturbing article in the Mail Online about the sad fact that millions of grandparents are left alone at Christmas.  Ms. Mooney lamented the fact that “The elderly are neglected by the very people to whom they gave the gift of life.” She asks, “Why is it that so many grandparents become isolated from their families in a way that would surely not have been the case when I was a child?”

“Social Security” in the U.S. is less than a hundred years old. For thousands of years, security in old age was based on relationships and was really “social.” Parents “paid in” by supporting and caring for their children when they were young, and when the parents were old, the children paid back. Extended family took care of their own.

When I was a boy my Grandmother welcomed me to visit her farm many times. She had a positive influence on me.

“Over the River and Through the Woods, to Grandmother’s house We GO!” (Click link to Play Song) My grandfather had died of pneumonia when I was young. When my parents traveled out of the country, I stayed on my Grandmother’s farm. Then my Grandmother lived in our home from the age of 80 until the age of 98. That’s the way it was in the good old days. I am sad to see it change.

Social Media May Provide “the Next Best Thing to Being There”

I am thankful for the communication opportunities provided by social media. I am proud of my son, Daughter-in-law , and wonderful Grandson who live 2000 miles away. See my previous post about long distance relationships.

Urban occupational diversity and geographical mobility have weakened family ties. Distances prohibit frequent visits. Family home retirement has been replaced by nursing homes and assisted living complexes.

In the late 20th century the expectation of corporate pensions and government support from “Social Security” replaced the expectation of spending the golden years with family. The inadequacy of those 20th century annuities in the 21st century begs the question of where seniors will live.

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