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THERE IS A HOUSE IN MICHIGAN The Berry Christmas Traditions
When people ask me my favorite Christmas song, I always say, “House of the Rising Sun.” That may sound like an odd choice, because it’s most definitely not a traditional carol. In fact, the lyrics have nothing to do with the holidays at all. And yet, whenever I hear the song, memories from Christmases past come flooding into my mind. That’s because it’s a song my dad would always play on the piano when we gathered to sing Christmas carols. Don’t get me wrong, we tackled classics like “Silent Night” too, but it was always “House of the Rising Sun” that got the most inspired rendition. Why my dad thought to include it in the program is still something of a mystery. But I do know that I’m glad he did.
My parents started another holiday tradition that I’ve been happy to pass down to my kids. When I was growing up, I always asked for sports equipment, the latest Nintendo games, and toys. While these gifts often appeared under the tree, it’s a less glamorous gift that sticks out in my mind. Every year, my parents bought me underwear and socks! It didn’t start out as a tradition, but it grew into one. Each Christmas morning, the running joke was which package would contain the underwear. They still buy them for me to this day. Ryan and Madison know to expect it at this point, but the look on their face when they are opening up a present only to find socks remains priceless. We’ve taken to disguising the underwear and socks in big packages to throw them off the trail. It might be in a huge box, but beneath all the tissue paper and packing peanuts is a humble pair of socks. These gifts may seem like gags, but they’ve taught me an important lesson about giving. We sometimes overlook just how valuable an essential gift is when compared to a glamorous one. Socks may not elicit the excitement of Super Mario, but I’ve never received a pair I didn’t use. Making sure you have the basics is sometimes the most thoughtful gift of all. The same goes for estate planning. Wills, trusts, and power of attorney are the building blocks of any good estate plan. Without those solid foundations, it’s impossible to build a system that will ensure your desires are fulfilled. A thorough estate plan may be closer in allure to underwear than video games, but just like underwear, the world is a lot less comfortable without it.
“Every year, my parents bought me underwear and socks! It didn’t start out as a tradition, but it grew into one. Each Christmas morning, the running joke was which package would contain the underwear.”
In closing, I want to wish everyone a very happy holidays and merry Christmas. I hope you have the chance to participate in some of your favorite traditions with your loved ones. Thank you all for making 2017 a wonderful year for our firm. I’ll see you in 2018. – Christopher J. Berry
Now that my son, Ryan, is playing the piano, he and Dad will sit together and play during the holidays. Ryan even knows “House of the Rising Sun” note for note. I guess you could say it’s in his blood. Watching them play together has quickly become one of my most cherished holiday memories.
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