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Keeping Up with the Trapps
My six-year-old daughter and I both enjoyed your reprint of Aloïse Buckley Heath’s piece on trying to emulate the Trapp family’s Advent activities. I, too, have read Maria von Trapp’s book, and tried — and utterly failed — to incorporate some of her Advent ideas into my celebrations with my three small children. So it was some consolation to me that I am not the only one who has met with less than success in this endeavor.

The other morning, I found my six-year-old daughter reading National Review. When I asked her what she was reading, she replied, “Some article about a man who confuses Ash Wednesday with Christmas. I stopped reading it.”

I look forward to your magazine, and now apparently my six-year-old will as well (assuming I can convince her that not all the articles are about the liturgically challenged).

Hannah Ard
Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Laughing with Aloïse
I thoroughly enjoyed Aloïse Buckley Heath’s piece about Christmas in a large family. I find it interesting that, despite the fact that I was born two years after her death, the experience she details could easily have been repeated in my home this year.

I am a mother of nine, so holidays are a wrench thrown into my well-oiled machine. I can do either Christmas or everyday life. Not both. Not both very well.

To try to focus on Christmas and impart the deep spiritual truths that propel our civilization forward . . . well, it usually goes about as well as drawing names for Aloïse’s Christkindl project. It doesn’t stop my husband and me from trying, mind you. I cling to the hope that something we do will stick. At least it will provide laughs at Christmas Eve dinners to come — laughs primarily at our expense, as they are about what our children were doing or thinking instead of paying attention during the Advent Jesse Tree devotion times.

As I continued reading the article, I had to stop myself from enjoying it so much, because my laughter was going to wake was going to wake up the baby I was nursing before her bedtime. (You will always find my copy of National Review next to my rocking chair in my room.) Thanks for the bonding moment with an eloquent woman—no one can laugh at her life like another mom of a large family.

Kristina Ormand
Via e-mail

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