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Weekly Reader 11.29.10

They Won’t be Home for the Holidays

Maybe it’s the expense, maybe it’s the experience, maybe it’s the emotions.  Whatever the reason it’s usually disappointing when adult children call (let’s hope this warrants more than a text) to say they will not be at the holiday table in December.

What to do? In “Parenting, Part II: When kids won’t be home for Christmas,” several experts offered these tips:

  • Go ahead and express your disappointment — once
  • See the silver lining. “The kid from California who gets invited to a Vermont farmhouse for Thanksgiving is getting an opportunity to see another part of the world,”
  • Offer alternatives. Invite your kids to Christmas dinner on Dec. 26.
  • Make your own plans. Invite friends or additional family members. Accept someone else’s invitation. Or make a more radical change: Leave the Christmas lights in a box and take a tropical trip.

‘Tis the Season to Shop

The folks at grandparents.com have thoughtfully provided one-stop shopping for gifts from babies to teens, with categories by age, gender and best sellers from a sleep sheep to a tin can robot. The site also has several timely posts on from “Gifts that Bridge the Distance,” to “How to Teach the Gives the Value of Giving.”

Big Ticket Item 

Talk about shopping! Want to help an adult child buy that first home by giving a private mortgage?  It’s a good idea, if you can afford it and if you follow some suggested guidelines.   A Wall Street Journal article, “Mom, Dad, Can I Borrow $140,000? “ cautioned:

While many families handle the process in informal oral agreements, advisers urge clients to document such loans in written contracts, just as a bank would. This can also make it easier for families to comply with tax rules that require lenders to pay income tax on the interest they receive and allow borrowers with mortgages to deduct the interest payments they pay.

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