Q. My 14-year-old nephew is bright and artistic, and he has a certain style. My “staunch-conservative” 22-year-old son recently commented about a Christmas gift of brightly-colored socks that I gave my nephew, saying I shouldn’t encourage that “behavior,” meaning my nephew’s flair for the dramatic. I was stunned, and didn’t know what to say. How could I have handled this?
Q. My four-year-old throws tantrums every time we have to go somewhere. I dread the holidays because it is such a battle to get him to leave his grandparents’ house, a store or a party. What can the panel suggest I do to make the transitions peaceful?
It is not unusual for a four-year-old to have difficulty making transitions, according to panel member Denise Continenza. “Plus, it could just be his temperament to get focused and very involved in what he is doing, so it becomes difficult for him to make changes. If mom knows that it is going to be an issue, she should plan ahead.”
Q. A truancy officer was called to my house because my son is refusing to go to school. We are going to have to appear in front of the magistrate, and could possibly be facing a fine for each day that he missed. What can we do?
It was written in 1843 in the midst of the bleakness of the Industrial Revolution, but also in a period in England when interest in Christmas traditions was being revived. Charles Dickens’ novella, “A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas,” was perfect for its time.
The Pennsylvania Playhouse production of “The Happy Elf,” continuing through Dec. 17, is a welcome change from slick traditional Christmas fare. It’s a musical comedy featuring a cast of mostly youthful actors and singers of diverse ages who are definitely full of the holiday spirit.
If you are dreaming of having a white Christmas this month, your best bet is MunOpCo Music Theatre’s stylish rendition of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas: The Musical,” on stage through Dec. 10 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, Allentown. The play is based on the 1954 holiday classic movie of the same name, which in turn, was named for the Academy Award-winning hit song featured in the 1942 film “Holiday Inn” starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.
The annual “Christmas City Follies” is Touchstone Theatre’s holiday gift to the community, and it comes wrapped in witty scripting, colorful costumes and fine acting, all tied together with a touch of satire and loads of wisdom. Created by the Touchstone Ensemble and directed by Artistic Director Jp Jordan, this year’s 18th edition of “Follies” continues through Dec. 22 at the south side Bethlehem venue.
Q. My parents have been babysitting my children since they were born, but now my parents are getting older and are not as physically able or alert as they used to be. I am not comfortable having them watch the children anymore. How do I tell them without hurting their feelings?
Q. I have been struggling with addiction for many years. I want to go into a rehabilitation program, but I don’t know how to tell my children, ages eight and 11. They are going to think that I am a terrible person and mother. What should I say to them?
All the experts agreed that the mother was very courageous to face the problem, and several asked what would her children think of her in future years if she didn’t go into rehab.
The Pines Dinner Theatre has kicked off the Christmas season theatrical schedule with “Over the River and Through the Woods,” an original musical full of spirited songs, some good humor and lots of schmaltz. Performances continue through Dec. 23.