DEAR ABBY: With the holidays approaching, I want to share with you the solution to a holiday problem.

When our kids grew up and started their own families, I had read many letters from young couples caught in the middle of a battle over where to spend Christmas. So I decided to start a new family tradition. We celebrated Christmas at Thanksgiving. We put up the tree and had all the family presents wrapped and ready to exchange underneath.

It was a win-win! We got to share Christmas with family, watch our grandkids open their presents and enjoyed the holiday turkey with all the trimmings. The grandkids got two Christmases, and our kids enjoyed a guilt-free Christmas with their in-laws.

As for us — we spent Christmas with other people who, for whatever reason, couldn’t spend it with family. It worked for years, and my children now continue the tradition. — HAPPY HOLIDAYS WITHOUT CONFLICT

DEAR H.H.: You came up with an excellent solution. Thinking outside the box is a trait that can be extremely helpful in ensuring the success of the holiday celebrations.

For many reasons, not everyone celebrates the holidays on their designated calendar days, and that includes Thanksgiving. If more families took a page out of your book, it could eliminate much of the holiday stress regular readers of my column suffer. Thank you for taking the time to write.

DEAR ABBY: I am ashamed to admit this, but years ago I had an affair with a married man. His wife had no idea, but all of his friends knew about it. She recently left him because she met someone else, and he’s not only bad-mouthing her, but also using it against her in their divorce.

Would it be wrong of me to help her by letting her know he was a big cheater? I don’t want to cause her any more hurt than she’s already experiencing. I no longer have any interest in him, but I think the information might help her. I genuinely feel for her. — KARMA OUT EAST

DEAR KARMA: I genuinely feel for her, too. By all means volunteer the information. And when you do, do NOT do it anonymously because if you do, her almost-ex can claim the information isn’t credible.

DEAR ABBY: I enjoy going to movies, especially to the theater in town where I can reserve my seat ahead of time.

I recently reserved my seat two days in advance to a movie I had been wanting to see. When I arrived at the theater, a woman was sitting in my seat. I politely pointed out to her that she was in my seat, and she glared at me and said rudely, “Really?”

Granted, the row was empty at the time, but it was still early. I knew more people would show up, and I didn’t want to take someone else’s seat. So I replied, “Yes, REALLY. I reserved this seat days ago.”

Was I right asking her to move? More people did show up, and the theater was full. — MY SEAT IN NEW MEXICO

DEAR MY SEAT: Yes, you were right. And if the woman had refused to move, you should have asked an usher to “clarify” your seat assignment for her and ensure she complied.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)