Thursday, December 22, 2011
Make good Christmas traditions

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

The Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street is about a little girl who meets a very different version of Santa Claus. An important part of the movie has to do with the girls mother who does not want her to believe in Santa Claus. We sometimes forget that our children watch our actions as much at Christmas as they do the rest of the year. They will develop similar habits to us. That is true whether those are good or bad habits. For that reason, it becomes important for parents to pay attention to their actions at Christmas. When their children grow up, they will copy those actions. Some of those actions are related to how we treat others at Christmas. Do we truly practice good will to men? Is Christmas a time for grudges against relatives? Is it a time to complain about them after they visit? Is it a time for us to talk about how others celebrate Christmas? If we behave badly in these areas, we are teaching our children that it is okay for them to behave badly as well. Churches are crowded at Christmas because it is a religious holiday. The question is whether the time we spend at church is the only time we give to that aspect of the day. If we are Christians, then it is important to extend that to the rest of the day. It might be as simple as saying grace before the Christmas meal and using that time to remember why. It might be including a birthday cake for the infant whose birth we are celebrating. For those individuals who are not Christian, they are still celebrating. It is even more important for them to help their children see the differences in their beliefs versus Christian beliefs. They are hearing a lot of conflicting messages. We have all heard that it is better to give than to receive. One of the questions I frequently ask my patients before Christmas is whether they have gotten presents for their parents. It is often a surprise to them. Giving works both ways. It is important for children to learn that early. Even if it is only a Christmas card that they draw and give to their parents, it helps establish the concept. Last Christmas, I wrote about family traditions. I included the fact that my Christmas meal growing up took about 6 hours and had multiple courses. It is important for us to pass down those traditions. My grandparents were born in Italy. My parents were born in the U.S. I am therefore, 100% Italian. However, my children are only half Italian. We still always have antipasto as part of all our holiday meals regardless of the holiday. That is a tradition that I still carry on. My grandchildren will be learning it from me. We all have those kinds of traditions. We need to have our children recognize them as something that is part of our family. It helps build a sense of family. It helps build self-esteem. There are many other things that we do at Christmas and our children watch them all. In the Miracle on 34th Street movie, the little girl was told not to believe in Santa Claus. What she was shown was that Santa Claus could indeed exist. There is a big difference in what we say and what we do. Children will pay a lot more attention to the things that we do than the things that we say. That is especially true at Christmastime.

Tobacco relapse support group Bayhealth Medical Center is pleased to offer a new support group for individuals who recently quit using tobacco products. The Tobacco Relapse Prevention Support Group will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m., on Jan. 25, March 20, May 22, July 24, Sept. 11 and Nov. 8, 2012. The group will meet in Bayhealths BETT Conference Room at 208 W. Water St. in Dover. This support group is designed to help individuals focus on relapse prevention and provides networking opportunities for participants to share their unique experiences and success stories with others. There is no need to register in advance for this support group For more information, contact Bayhealth Educator Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC, at 302-744-6724.

Relay for Life fundraiser Dr. Marie Wolfgang is again sponsoring a 12 night Winter Getaway Cruise to the Southern Caribbean as a fundraiser for Relay for Life, sailing from Cape Liberty, N.J. on Feb. 10. The itinerary includes St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Johns (Antigua), St. Lucia and St. Maarten (Philipsburg).

Transportation to and from the dock is available. For a brochure, call or visit Dr. Wolfgangs office at One Cedar Ave. in Seaford, 629-4471. Space is limited.

NAR-ANON support group Take Heart, Be Strong is a support group available to those family members and friends who are concerned about the drug/alcohol addiction of a loved one. We find people in NAR-ANON who understand what we are going through and are ready to share their experience, strength and hope to help us. This group meets at 7 p.m. every Thursday in the Youth Room at Crossroad Community Church, 20684 State Forest Rd., Georgetown. If you are interested or know someone who might be, call Beth at 302-745-0466. This is an anonymous program and there are no obligations. Attendance is welcome with no prior arrangements. For more information and other meeting locations, visit

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospices New Beginnings bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program.The location rotates each week of the month throughout Sussex County. New Beginnings luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required. There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Midge Dinatale or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

New depression support groups If you have been diagnosed with depression, are currently receiving treatment and need extra support, join the Mental Health Association in Delawares newest depression support groups. The support groups provide a safe and comfortable environment for adults who may be struggling with depressionto find others who may be going through similar experiences, learn coping skills and take back control of their life by being proactive. A support group meets in Seaford every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The location of the meeting is provided only to registered members. To register, contact the Mental Health Association in Delaware at 302-654-6833 or 800-287-6423. These new groups are made possible due to a grant received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delawares BluePrints for the Community program.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

CPR classes at Nanticoke Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends,and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants 12-years-old and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospitals Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.