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Holidays: A time for family laughter, sharing, good will

December 28, 2008
By Shannon Dygert, For The Leader-Herald

With changes and uncertainty in the economy, many individuals will be facing difficult times.

It is normal to spend time reflecting on the holiday season and the expense and stress that could ensue.

Before your "to do" list gets too big, take a step back to decide what this holiday season really means to you and how you want to spend it. Authors from Better Living give us a few suggestions for simplifying the season:

Slow down. Don't be in such a hurry to get from point A to point B. Take the time to enjoy the magic of the season.

Make a gift. Instead of purchasing an expensive gift that you can't afford, make your gift recipient's favorite thing.

Pot luck the meal. Just because the dinner is taking place in your home doesn't mean you have to foot the bill or make all the dishes. Ask each visitor to bring a dish, and don't be afraid to specify what you would like each guest to bring.

Play games. What games do you remember playing as a child? Are there any games that an entire group of people can play together? Make time to be a kid again.

Stay home. Make arrangements to visit friends and family the day before or after the holiday, so that you can spend Christmas day at home, with your loved ones.

Light watch. Is there an area in your town that goes all out with outside Christmas decorations? Nothing brings more cheer to the holiday than watching the faces of young children "oh and ah" at the beauty of the lights.

Christmas carol. Take your family and friends Christmas caroling. You could even bring along a tin can and get donations for your local charity.

Donate your time. Take a day, out of the holiday season, to give back to the community.

Volunteer in a retirement home - some don't have family visiting for the holidays.

Serve the homeless a hot meal. Hold a drug-addicted baby at your local hospital.

Delegate tasks. Don't take on the responsibility of making everything work and look perfect. After making your "to do" list, break it up between family members according to age, maturity, and physical ability to get the task done.

Request kitchen help. Sure, it's your home. But it's your family attending the celebration. Ask them to lend a hand cleaning up after the festivities are over.

Prepare meals ahead of time. Prepare one dish a day and freeze or refrigerate that meal.

Reheated food really isn't that bad and you'll have more time to mingle and laugh with your guests, instead of missing out on all the fun.

Just remember: Creating memories is a priceless gift. Memories will last a lifetime; things last only a short-period of time. What's important is the time you share with those you love-for you never know what tomorrow holds.

Credit for this article goes to Joey Peutz an Extension educator form the University of Idaho. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Fulton and Montgomery Counties wishes everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.



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