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Taking the stress out of the holidays

Post Independent Writer

The wrappings of the holiday season are all around. Lights, music, cold weather, cookies, and overflowing stores are just some of the sights, sounds and smells that indicate the holiday season is once again in our midst. For many with children, the season means fun, frolic, and often way too much stress. I wanted to share a few ways that some wise parents in our communities effectively deal with holiday stress.First, make giving the focus of the season, rather than receiving. One way to do this is turn off the TV for the month of December. One family I know reports that their children didn’t even have a wish list once the TV was turned off. With the extra time, the family spent lots of time reading Christmas stories, playing in the snow, and baking gifts. Second, stick with a budget. It is fun for all to give and receive gifts but this can be done within a budget that doesn’t leave you worrying about debt. There are many free things to do during the holiday season and those can be a gift in themselves. Some families do gift certificates of loving acts, such as back rubs, household chores, or an activity to enjoy in the future. Sticking with a budget means being creative and less stressed.A great gift idea is to give to a charity in honor of the person you are gifting. You can provide a charitable donation to any of the many non-profits in our area in honor of someone you love. Choose your cause and your gift as a family and talk about how it makes you feel to give a gift to a stranger instead of getting a gift for yourself.Hanging a homemade ornament on the tree commemorating this act is a way to remind each family member that a special gift was given in his or her name. Last year, in honor of our daughter who is training in nursing school to work with para- and quadriplegics, we worked through a national organization and gave a wheelchair to a child in a foreign county. Our daughter was so excited about the idea that she requested the same gift this year.Our community offers many ways to give to others. There is the LIFT-UP Angel Tree for children, toy drives and coat drives; elderly people in nursing homes can use assistance, collections are taken for children of incarcerated parents, and the list goes on. There are also national organizations that offer unique gift giving ideas. The Heifer Project and Samaritan’s Purse both have a catalogue of great gifts. The Soldiers’ Angels Foundation is looking for individuals to adopt soldiers and provide them on-going support. These are all great ways to give. Many families in our community plan a fun activity on Christmas day and make that the gift of the day. Ideas include skiing, hiking, skating, visiting the ice caves, sledding, and playing games. Gathering for a meal with friends or family, whether it is a potluck, home cooked or ordered in is a great way to celebrate and feel the real gifts of the season.Have a question you would like YouthZone to answer? Send us an e-mail at mjcarnevale@youthzone.com or give us a call at 945-9300.Have a question you would like YouthZone to answer? Send us an e-mail at mjcarnevale@youthzone.com or give us a call at 945-9300.


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