Spector Law Group - December 2020



December 2020

Medical Malpractice | Nursing Home Negligence | Auto Accidents

How I Learned to Celebrate Christmas

The Holidays Are a Time to Adapt

Not long after my tree expedition, I

short needle trees? Do I get a pine or a fir? Is it the right color? I had no idea what I was doing, but a salesman was kind enough to sort me out.

Growing up in a Jewish home, we didn’t celebrate Christmas. That meant that we didn’t decorate our home inside or out with colorful lights or even a Christmas tree. As a child, my father celebrated Christmas and shared his memories of the magic of the season. One thing we never spoke about however, is where the tree he decorated inside his home came from. It was not until my first year of marriage that I began to celebrate Christmas with my wife. Admittedly, I was excited about decorating our home with colorful lights and all things Christmas, even a Christmas tree! But, where and how was I going to get a tree? No sooner had those questions popped into my head did my wife send me out to the local Christmas tree lot to pick out a tree on my own. After arriving at the lot, however, I quickly realized I was way out of my league. What’s the difference between long needle and

found a 1960s Lionel train set in my father’s attic. He started to share stories with me about how, every Christmas Eve, he’d fall asleep to a near empty house. Then, he’d wake up, and — magically! — they’d have a fully decorated Christmas tree, lights, and all the works, including this Lionel train set that was built around the tree. My father gave me the set, and, after doing some repairs, it’s now part of our holiday tradition. Each season, my son and I experiment with new paths and circuits around the Christmas tree. As our plans stretch longer through the family room, my wife will give us warm words of support like, “Where will our family be able to sit?” But she too looks forward to the finished product. The best part is seeing the twinkle in my dad’s eyes when he visits for the holidays. I can tell that seeing the train set in use brings back a lot of nostalgic memories for him. Despite the challenges, Christmas has brought so many blessings and memories to my life. We may have to celebrate it a little differently to accommodate 2020, but to be fair, we’re always trying something new or different! However, no matter what Christmas tradition or decor I explore, you’ll still find a vintage Lionel train set under our tree this season — and for many more years to come. Merry Christmas from all of us at the Spector Law Group!

After nervously choosing my first tree, I looked at the salesman. “What now?”

“Well, you’ll drive the tree home,” he said.

I looked back at my SUV. “I don’t know how you’re going to fit it in there.”

“We’ll throw it on top of the roof and tie it down,” he said, reassuring me.

I was amazed by this. “Then what?”

After wrapping the tree in tight netting, the salesman went through the process of how to carry the tightly bound tree into the house and onto the tree stand. Of course, what he didn’t tell me was that by the end of December, the tree would be dried up, its branches would no longer be neatly tied up, and it would be impossible to get it through the same door that it came in from. Long story short, my Christmases tend to be full of learning experiences, but I’ve loved them all! In fact, I get so many Christmas ideas that sometimes I need to be reined back in. One year, I tried to hang tiny colorful disco ball lights but was quickly informed that those lights might be a “little much” for decoration. While many things change, there is one constant Christmas tradition we have, and it might surprise you (like it did me) that it’s rooted in family history: our Lionel train set.

- Yale Spector

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3 GIFT-GIVING TIPS That Won’t Kill Your Savings

Think beyond store-bought or expensive items.

Ah, the holidays. It’s a time of sweet treats, family, and giving back — and sometimes giving a little too much. When it comes to the perfect holiday gift, many people spend too much money. The average American spends nearly $1,000 on gifts during the December holidays alone! It’s possible to cut back and make it to January without major debt. Here’s how.

Sure, everyone wants this holiday season’s “it” item, but sometimes the best gifts don’t even come wrapped under the tree. Instead, look to your own talents as a clue to what you should give. If you’re a great crafter, create something unique for the people on your list. If you can offer the gift of time, provide a free night of babysitting for your friends with kids or an experience at the local theater. These gifts have a bonus factor: Recipients love the gift when they open it, and they love it when they get to use it!

Set a budget — and stick to it.

Setting a holiday budget ensures you only spend what you can afford. It also narrows down your search. If you choose to buy your neighbor something, but they aren’t your top priority, set their budget at a lower level, like $25–$50. If you have a sibling who has had a rough year and you’d like to make their holidays a little brighter, bump their budget up. This narrows the focus of what you’re looking for so you don’t stumble into something you can’t afford. Ultimately, it’s the spirit of giving during the holidays that makes them so rewarding. With a little ingenuity, you can be generous and avoid the stress of excess debt come January.

Check your list — twice!

The list is going to be your secret weapon to tackling the holidays with your savings still intact. Start by writing down the name of every person you’d like to get a gift for. Now, with the exception of your immediate family members, narrow the names down to your top five — top 10 if you’re really popular. Now, place the names of the people who didn’t make the cut into a second list. If you still feel the need to do something for them, send homemade cookies or a handwritten note instead of purchasing something. This limits how much you actually have to spend!

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spellings of common names. Additionally, the name must match the biological sex of the child: girls with feminine names and boys with masculine names. And another thing, traditional last names cannot be used as a first name. Many other countries have similar laws, including Germany. While the German laws are not as strict as Denmark’s, they state that the name must match the sex and that any name must not bring harm to the child. That is to say, if the child is likely to be bullied because of the name, it may be rejected.

No Running Out of Gas on the Autobahn

Should you run out of gas and require assistance, you must not leave your vehicle, because it’s also illegal to walk on the Autobahn. If you do need to pull over, you must do so in designated areas or leave the highway altogether.

The “no gas” law is designed to minimize hazards and accidents on the road. It’s also illegal to stop on the side of the Autobahn, unless you’re experiencing an emergency or car trouble, such as an unforeseen issue with the engine. Running out of gas is considered a “foreseen” issue, thanks to fuel indicators.

Speaking of Germany, home of the Autobahn, it’s illegal to run out of gas while driving on the superhighway. In fact, driving on the Autobahn comes with many restrictions. That’s the trade-off for accessing an efficient road system where some stretches lack a speed limit.

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It’s not always easy to share feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, or other strong emotions — but it’s healthy to share them. Sometimes, we need to vent and get it all out. Venting gives us an opportunity to release these emotions, which often leads to mental clarity. However, when someone comes to you to vent and share their heavy emotional burden, listening can be just as challenging as sharing. You want to be supportive, but you don’t want to interfere. Strong feelings and tough situations may be involved. What can you do to be the listener they really need? It starts with your body language. Open yourself to their emotional needs. Gregorio Billikopf, an interpersonal relationship expert at the University of California, Berkeley says if you begin the conversation standing, invite the person to have a seat with you. Another thing you can do as a listener is to position yourself below their eye line. This puts the person venting in a more active “storyteller” position and you in a better “listener” position. While in this position, maintain eye contact. It’s okay to look down or away occasionally, but try to keep steady eye contact. Billikopf also notes that, as a listener, it’s important to avoid interjecting. Don’t offer input, suggestions, or guidance to the person venting until after the person has had the chance to get it all out. “During this venting process, there is still too much pressure for a person to consider other perspectives,” Billikopf says. While you don’t want to interject, you do want to be an active listener. This means you don’t want to be completely silent. This is where “reflective listening” comes in. Occasionally repeat what the speaker says — but don’t use their exact phrasing. Reword slightly in a sympathetic manner. Don’t spin their words or mistakenly interject an opinion, as it may not be the opinion they’re interested in hearing. Alternatively, listening cues like “mm” or “hm” and nods are always welcome. One last thing to keep in mind: You do not need to offer a solution to the person’s problem or concerns. They may just be venting to get their negative emotions out, not looking for answers or explanations. If they are looking for answers or guidance, wait for them to ask. In the meantime, lend your ear and let them know you’re there for them going forward. BE A BETTER LISTENER FOR SOMEONE Who Needs to ‘Get It All Out’


Inspired by SimplyRecipes.com


• 1 stick butter • 1 cup sugar • 1 egg, room temperature • Zest of 1 orange • 1 tsp salt

• 1 tsp baking soda • 1 cup sour cream • 3 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit of your choice, chopped • 1 cup nuts of your choice, chopped • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided


1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with greased baking paper. Ensure the piece running the length of the pan stands 1 inch above each side to form “handles.” 2. In a small bowl, mix baking soda and sour cream. 3. In a second bowl, combine fruit, nuts, and 1/4 cup flour. 4. In a third bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, zest, and sour cream mixture. Then, add remaining flour and salt. Mix, then add fruit mixture. 5. Pour batter into lined pan. Fill up a separate loaf pan halfway with water. Bake both pans in oven for 1 1/2–2 hours or until a skewer leaves the cake clean. 6. Use “handles” to remove cake from pan and cool completely on a rack before serving.

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410-321-6200 www.SpectorLawGroup.com PO Box 1101 Cockeyville, MD 21030 THIS ISSUE INSIDE

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How I Learned to Celebrate Christmas


3 Fool-Proof Ways to Pay for the Holidays Without Going Broke


Not Your Grandma’s Fruitcake How to Be a Better Listener for Someone in Need


Strange Laws Around the Globe



No Chewing Gum in Singapore

Company. You can get certain types of gum with a prescription, but if you are caught with more than two packs or are found littering, you may be handed a very steep fine.

Nearly every community around the world has strange laws: Some were established decades or centuries ago to address specific issues that came up once or twice; some were created with good intentions but have since become outdated; and there are some recently created ones that still serve practical purposes. Here are three such examples.

Singapore has numerous laws aimed at keeping the city-state free of clutter, one of which is aimed squarely at chewing gum. As the government made infrastructure improvements in the 1980s and ‘90s, they wanted to curb vandalism and littering so they could keep this new area clean. The result was a crackdown on gum. They take it so seriously that they monitor gum products that pass through the city-state. If it’s en route to a neighboring country, it must be locked up until it’s through. In the past, anyone caught selling, possessing, or chewing gum could be fined up to $100,000.

No Unusual Names in Denmark

When you have a child in Denmark, don’t get too creative with their name. The government maintains a list of around 7,000 approved names, and around 200 names are rejected every year. However, if you choose a name that isn’t on the list, you might not receive an automatic denial. You can get special approval through your local church, then submit the name for approval from government officials. The law looks down on naming children after inanimate objects or alternative Continued on Page 2 ...

In recent years, the law has eased somewhat, thanks in part to gum lobbyists funded by the Wrigley

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