For many of us, today or tomorrow marks that last day of work before our official “Holiday Break” begins. And with that I want to leave you with just a few reminders.
Relationships are the most important thing to remember during the holidays.
This time of year can add an enormous amount of stress to everyone. There are more “obligations” that we suddenly find ourselves committed to… Holiday Parties, Family Dinners, Holiday Cards, Gift Buying, House Decorating… All of these traditions and rituals can be fun and can create great memories. But they can also add unnecessary stress to our lives so remember it is the relationships we have with others that is most important, not those traditions. If it stops being fun and meaningful, then do something different.
Here are some ways you can help manage holiday stress:
Change or Update Traditions – This should be a time of joy and happiness. If those “Traditions” are not providing that joy and happiness then it is time for something different. You are not obligated to send the 10-page Christmas Letter about your perfect year. You are not obligated to decorate 100 perfect sugar cookies. You are not obligated to hang a single decoration. If those are not things that bring you joy, then skip them. Find new ways to celebrate the relationships in your life.
Change your “Christmas Dinner” – Who ever said it had to be a fancy laborious ordeal? I mean, if you love cooking and having folks over, by all means do it. But if that is something you hate, order pizza or Chinese food or eat hot dogs… the thing is, it is your day, your meal. You are the one that should be enjoying it.
Minimize the Decorations – If rearranging your entire house to hang some ornaments isn’t your thing, then skip it. I assure you, the Decorating Police will not come knocking at your door.
Spend less on Gifts! – This one is a big one. Of course we all like getting fancy expensive gifts, and lots of them. But it isn’t necessary. Agree as a family on a price range and a number of gifts. No cheating! Do not go over either of the pre-determined amounts. Spending more money than you have on a gift that will be “cherished” for 10 seconds is stress-inducing for months. Don’t do it.
And if you really want to change things up, think ahead to next year. Think of all the money you would normally spend on gifts, decorations, dinner… and start saving it. Now, think about really changing traditions! Take the money you would have spent on a “thing” and spend it instead on a “memory”! Take a trip with your family instead. Plan it together.
Holiday safety is an issue that burns brightest from late November to mid-January, when families gather, parties are scheduled and travel spikes. Take some basic precautions to ensure your family remains safe and injury-free throughout the season.
Many people choose to travel during the holidays by automobile, with the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation. In 2015, 355 people died on New Year’s Day, 386 on Thanksgiving Day and 273 on Christmas Day, according to Injury Facts 2017. Alcohol-impaired fatalities represent about one-third of the totals.
Use a designated driver to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party; alcohol, over-the-counter or illegal drugs all cause impairment
Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance traveled
Put that cell phone away; many distractions can occur while driving, but cell phones are the main culprit
Be prepared for heavy traffic, and possibly heavy snow
Even Angel Hair can Hurt Decorating is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, but emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating every season.
“Angel hair,” made from spun glass, can irritate your eyes and skin; always wear gloves or substitute non-flammable cotton
Spraying artificial snow can irritate your lungs if inhaled; follow directions carefully
Decorate the tree with your kids in mind; move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top
Always use the proper step ladder; don’t stand on chairs or other furniture
Lights are among the best parts of holiday decorating; make sure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets, and don’t overload your electrical circuits
Plants can spruce up your holiday decorating, but keep those that may be poisonous (including some Poinsettias) out of reach of children or pets; the national Poison Control Center can be reached at (800) 222-1222
Make sure paths are clear so no one trips on wrapping paper, decorations, toys, etc.; NSC provides tips for older adults on slip, trip and fall protection
It’s Better to Give Safely We’ve all heard it’s important when choosing toys for infants or small children to avoid small parts that might prove to be a choking hazard. Here are some additional gift-related safety tips:
Select gifts for older adults that are not heavy or awkward to handle
Be aware of dangers associated with coin lithium batteries; of particular concern is the ingestion of button batteries
Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to see which toys have been recalled
Watch Out for Those Fire-starters Candles and Fireplaces Thousands of deaths are caused by fires, burns and other fire-related injuries every year, and 12% of home candle fires occur in December, the National Fire Protection Association reports. In-creased use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations present in many homes means more risk for fire.
Never leave burning candles unattended or sleep in a room with a lit candle
Keep candles out of reach of children
Make sure candles are on stable surfaces
Don’t burn candles near trees, curtains or any other flammable items
Don’t burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace