How to survive the holidays

Illustrations by Nadine Redlich

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … right? For many people, the holidays are a fraught time — at turns, wonderful and maddening. For every one thing that we love about the holiday season (Presents! Eggnog!) there are two stressors (Unpleasant relatives! Financial burdens! Travel headaches! Seasonal exhaustion!) This holiday season, make it the year that you not only survive the holidays, but the one in which you thrive. This guide will show you how.

Ruthlessly Manage Your Time

The mundane chores will still need to be done in the midst of the holiday festivities, so plan accordingly.

The image we tend to conjure of the holidays — sipping hot cocoa around a roaring fire as visions of sugarplums dance in our heads — stands in stark contrast to the reality of the season. Our routines, after all, stay the same — laundry still needs to be done, dinner still needs to be cooked, we still need to sleep — but on top of that, work often gets busier as end-of-the-year deadlines approach and there are, of course, extra errands to run from gift buying to grocery shopping to holiday meal preparation. And parties! So many parties.

Julie Morgenstern, a productivity expert and author, said, “plan for and be ruthless about how much extra you take on,” and take time to consider what makes the holidays special for you. That may mean decorating, or hosting a cookie swap, or getting dolled up for a friend’s annual holiday cocktail party, but however you define it, Ms. Morgenstern advises that you “focus on those few activities, so you have the energy to enjoy the season.” That means it’s O.K. to say no to “obligations” you don’t feel strongly about like the family year-in-review letter, the school bake off or decking all your halls with holly.

Cut Some Corners

There are some things, however, you probably can’t get out of. Here’s how to make those obligations easier to manage:

  • Book travel before Oct. 15.Tip: If you waited too long, use Google Flights and Hopper to track prices for different itineraries and times when fares might drop.
  • Reconfigure shelves to make room for a very large bird.Tip: Do this on Nov. 15, which is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.
  • Head to the market a week before the holiday meal or party you are hosting.Tip: Do the bulk of the food and beverage shopping a week before you’ll be entertaining, and plan for one more trip a day or two before the big day to pick up highly perishable items and, of course, those things you forgot the first time around!
  • Buy or order paper holiday cards by mid-November.Tip: Use online services such as Minted, Postable or Shutterfly that offer the option to address and mail cards for you, or send digital holiday cards, which can be sent out as late as the day before the holiday.
  • Send invitations four weeks before your holiday party.Tip: Use electronic invitations from services like Paperless Post to track your guest list, follow up with people who haven’t R.S.V.P.’d and automatically send reminders.
  • Deck the halls the first week of December.Tip: Holiday decorating can be dangerous, but these tips can keep you and your loved ones safe.
  • Do your gift shopping before Dec. 15th.Tip: Treat holiday shopping like any other appointment and schedule it.

Learn to Set Limits

Social obligations can quickly become overwhelming during the holiday season, and is another area that Ms. Morgenstern advises to be ruthless when managing your time. “There are different categories of holiday parties,” she said, adding that you should put each social obligation into a category and create a set of rules for each. Gatherings with family and/or friends that you look forward to every year should be events, Ms. Morgenstern said, “where you fully indulge in time and joy.”

But other obligations, like work parties that can feel more like work and less like a party, or your neighbor’s annual White Elephant to-do, are places where you should feel free to set limits. “Perhaps go for a pre-designated amount of time,” Ms. Morgenstern said, “and apply a no sweets or no drinking rule for those,” to avoid disrupting your regular diet and, more importantly, your sleep.

Holidays can bring mixed emotions. Follow these tips to make them more joyous.

How to survive the holidays

The holiday season can bring mixed emotions for many. For some, it’s their favorite time of year. For others, it brings feelings of sadness and loss. Seeing old friends and family members may be exciting or may bring up memories of disappointments.

Do you ever get together with your family and notice you’ve all of a sudden become that 13-year-old teenager again who’s arguing with your parents or siblings? Or perhaps you find yourself looking at a sibling and thinking for the first time in 20 years, “Mom always loved her better.” Sometimes when we see family members, we revert to old childhood patterns which may hurt us and remind us of difficult times. Even though we think we’ve worked through these patterns, they just seem to crop right back up.

Feeling depressed or anxious is not unusual during the holiday season. Upcoming dinners, parties, and other family or friend gatherings may cause a great deal of stress. These feelings may be even worse for those who have experienced divorce, lost a loved one, are living far from family and friends, etc..

Here are some tips to “beat the holiday blues.”

1. Keep your regular routine.

A change in routine can lead to additional stress. Try to exercise at your usual time, go to meetings that you normally go to, and stick to as normal a diet as you possibly can.

2. Think moderation.

While it may be easy to drink and eat too much at parties and special dinners, we should try not to overindulge with food and/or alcohol. Remember, eating and drinking may feel like they temporarily “ease the pain” of the holiday blues, but they can also lead to feelings of guilt.

3. Be realistic, and try not to expect the “ideal” holiday.

So many of us have an idealized version of what the holidays should be like and are very disappointed when they don’t live up to those expectations. Try to be realistic. Remember, nobody has a perfect holiday or perfect family.

4. Stay connected.

Make sure to leave time to spend with friends and/or family who value you. And if they don’t live close by, call them for a “reality check” or some “grounding.” Remember to ask for support if you need it.

5. Throw guilt out the window.

Try not to put unreasonable pressure on yourself to be happy, to rejoice, or even to enjoy the holidays. Likewise, try not to overanalyze your interactions with others. Give yourself a break this holiday season.

6. Don’t be alone if you don’t want to be.

If you anticipate spending the holidays alone, try to volunteer somewhere, like in a soup kitchen, with children in group homes, or the elderly in various facilities. People will so appreciate you that you may feel better about yourself, but more importantly, you’ll have company.

7. Focus on today, not yesterday.

There’s something about being with family and old friends that makes us become who we were and not who we are. When you find yourself reverting to old childhood patterns with family members, try to walk away for a minute and remember who you are now. Also remember that it’s not necessary to play the same role as you did when you were younger, even if others are encouraging you to do so by their behaviors. If there is someone at the get-together who knows what you are like today, make sure to reach out to them and draw them into the interactions. That will help to ground you.

8. Just say no.

It’s OK to say no when you’re asked to do more than you can. It’s fine to say no to some invitations and fine to say no to those asking for favors. Remember, this is your holiday, too!

9. Ask for help.

Holidays are often a time people attempt to take on too much or do too much on their own. It’s OK to ask for help from family and friends. Whether for decorating, shopping, cooking, or a shoulder to lean on, ask.

10. Be good to yourself.

If you’re feeling blue, pamper yourself. Do what feels good, and what you want to do. Try to take a walk or spend time alone, if that’s what you want. Remember, this is your holiday, too, and you can be there for yourself just like you try to be for everyone else.

The holidays only come once a year and only last for a few weeks. If you follow these 10 tips, you might just find this year to be more joyful and less stressful.

Whenever the holidays draw near, stress levels seem to skyrocket worldwide. Whether it’s the annoyance of travel, distractions from work, small talk with long-forgotten family members, or constant requests for tech support, those family reunions can get pretty dicey. Here’s how to make it through with your sanity intact.

10. Avoid Stress When You Travel

Joining your family or friends for the holidays often means a trip back to the ol’ homestead, which may require a longer journey by car or plane. This is where the stress all begins—from packing to staying on schedule and paying for the trip, travel has a way of making you want to pull your hair out. Check out our start to finish guide to stress-free travel to stay sane through the trek and start your holidays off right. Image remixed from Chris Brindley .

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How to survive the holidays

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9. Turn Awkward Small Talk with Your Relatives Into Conversations

You’re probably going home to see a lot of your close family and friends, but you’ll probably run into a lot of extended family members or old acquaintances you haven’t seen in awhile—and that means awkward small talk is sure to ensue. If you hate awkward small talk, just turn it into a conversation instead, and things’ll be a lot less awkward. If you’re really stretching, the FORD technique is a sure way to fill the awkward silences. Image remixed from Dvarg (Shutterstock) and Everett Collection (Shutterstock).

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8. Work from Home Without Distractions

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to blow a few vacation days while you head home, but if not, you’ll have to master working from home without distractions. Part of that is dealing with other people around you , particularly if you’re in a house packed full of holiday visitors, but the other half is keeping yourself from slacking off when you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck. Set some boundaries and try to enjoy the positive side to keep from going insane, and get your work done as quickly as possible so you can get back to the fun stuff. Photo by Britt Selvitelle .

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7. Get a Jump on the Food

If you’re in charge of any cooking, don’t save anything until the last minute. Get a jump on your holiday meals with as many make-ahead dishes as you can, and start the main cooking early to make sure everything’s done thoroughly (and you don’t poison everyone ). And even if you aren’t in charge of the meal, see what you can do to help out—it’ll make everyone else less stressed, and give you some quality time with your family. Photo by Threephin .

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6. Stick With Your Exercise Routine

Vacations and holidays are when it’s toughest to stick with your exercise routine, and yet it’s when they’re the most important (since you’re eating more than usual). If you’ve already motivated yourself into a good routine , you shouldn’t have too much trouble—you just need to keep up that motivation while you’re gone. In fact, your biggest problem will probably be time. If you have less time to exercise over the break than you usually do, consider condensing your workout, or doing something like our 20 minute exercise plan in the interim. Image remixed from Taylor Medlin (The Noun Project) and Leremy (Shutterstock).

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How to survive the holidays

Feeling all of the holiday feels.

Right before the holiday season, things get hectic. Children are bouncing off the walls with excitement and anticipation, and we teachers are left trying to manage both our classrooms and our holiday to-do lists. When stress strikes, it can affect not only the way that we feel but how our students feel as well. That’s why stress management for teachers is important. Luckily, with these strategies, you can combat stress before it hits full force.

1. Get Enough Exercise

I know—the last thing you want to hear is that you need to exercise. Everyone knows regular exercise gives you more energy, improves your mood, and works as a great stress reliever, but with so much on your plate, who has the time? You do. You just have to make it.

How to survive the holidays

If you find that your schedule is leaving you sedentary, then you need to work some movement into your day. It’s easier to incorporate exercise into your daily routine than you think. Take your students outside for a walk, incorporate some yoga into your mornings as a class, or even have a quick dance party to help break up the day.

When I was feeling anxious, I knew I had to do something about it, so I researched classroom yoga and started doing poses with my students each morning. I found that we all felt better after I incorporated this small bit of movement into our day. If we didn’t get the chance to do morning yoga, then I’d try and incorporate just 5-10 minutes of some type of moderate exercise, like jumping jacks, mountain climbers, or even dancing in place, to help us unwind.

2. Do a Good Deed

The holiday season is all about giving; when you do a good deed for someone other than yourself, it makes you feel good. People don’t realize that giving back can actually be a remedy for stress. In fact, research from the University of Buffalo found that when people think about others, they aren’t thinking about their own problems, and this distraction may reduce the effects of stress. It’s like taking a little vacation from your internal stresses.

When I learned about this theory, I decided to try it out myself. I surprised my students with a special treat, anonymously paid for someone’s coffee, and brought Christmas cookies for all of my colleagues. It felt wonderful to give back! I found that, whether or not you know the person, performing any act of kindness will make you feel happy.

3. Do Absolutely Nothing

Did you know that you can relieve stress by doing nothing at all? According to the American Psychological Association, practicing mindfulness is an effective way to reduce stress. Whether you take a moment to just breathe, or you sit at your desk while your students are at lunch, you’re making a commitment to yourself to press the pause button and just be still in the moment.

The thing I love the most about mindfully doing nothing is that it can be done anywhere and at any time. Just taking a moment to slow down and notice the world helps me unwind and feel calmer. This approach is especially helpful during the holidays when you have a classroom full of excited children.

4. Challenge Your Brain

While keeping active and mediating are both great stress relievers, you can also reduce stress in a fun way by challenging your brain. Check out brain games like Sudoku or a crossword puzzle, learn a new instrument or sport, or even discover a new language. I found that keeping my mind busy helps me feel less stressed. Every day, I use an app called Peak, which offers up a lot of fun, logic-based games. It only takes about 5-10 minutes, and I can unwind during any bit of alone time I get during the school day.

5. Indulge in Dark Chocolate

Those chocolate cravings that you get may be justified after all! It turns out that eating dark chocolate may lower your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). There are other benefits to eating dark chocolate too, such as improved mood—I know chocolate makes me happier! So when you’re feeling a little stressed in the classroom, go ahead and indulge.

When I read this research, I decided to create a calming corner at my desk, outfitted with some dark chocolate and a few aromatherapy scents. Whenever I was feeling stressed throughout the day, I had my break to look forward to because I could alleviate this stress with some sweet scents and some chocolate.

The best way to survive the holiday season and truly unwind is to find what works best for you. Some teachers like to start their mornings off with a quick jog while others find serenity in mediation or giving back to others. Ultimately, stress management for teachers is a process of trial and error. So, how will you unwind this holiday season?

Caroline Morse Teel

Caroline Morse Teel is the Managing Editor for SmarterTravel Media. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She’s traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: “Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!”

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: “Don’t be boring.”

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: “Aisle (when the first class private suite isn’t available).”

Staying with family is great in many ways. You have time to catch up and make new memories, and you don’t have to pay for a hotel. But you’ll pay in other ways, such as having to sleep on an air mattress and sacrificing alone time. Here’s how to survive an extended stay with relatives this holiday season.

Make Your Bed More Comfortable

Relegated to a futon, air mattress, or pull-out couch? There are a few things you can do to make your sleeping arrangement more comfortable. Air mattresses get colder than real beds (the air inside cools overnight, making you chilly). Pad it with extra blankets, or use a sleep sack, which is easy to pack and provides a ton of warmth.

Push the air mattress up against the wall if possible so your pillows don’t fall off while you sleep, and put a blanket or a yoga mat underneath the mattress to make it less noisy when you move around.

For futons or rock-hard mattresses, a self-inflating sleeping pad is easy to use and will save your back.

Even if you’re staying in a great guest room, most normal bedrooms don’t come with blackout curtains like those you’ll find at hotels, so be sure to pack an eye mask that will block out light. This mask is contoured to allow for eye movement during sleep, but still prevents light from getting in.

Earplugs are also essential if you’re a light sleeper (or just go to bed earlier/get up later than other people in the house). Or bring a travel-sized white noise machine if you really want to drown out the world.

Stuck in the living room? You could go all out and pack a privacy pop-up indoor bed tent if you want to make a statement about the importance of alone time.


Don’t Forget to Breathe

Getting stressed? Take a deep breath to help relax. If you’re staying in an environment that you’re not used to (for example, sharing a house with smokers or pets when you’re allergic), bring along a tiny travel air purifier for your room. This can make a big difference and help you breathe easier.

Get Some Quiet Time

Spending time with other people 24/7 can be tough. But you’re going to be a better guest and family member if you take some solo time to decompress each day. Take a walk, or excuse yourself to take a nap and use the time to sleep or read. If you’re coming home to a deadline-driven family, you could appear busy while also carving out alone time by offering to run errands on your own.

Stay Charged and Connected

If a big group is staying at your family’s house, the Wi-Fi will get overwhelmed quickly. If it’s important to you to stay online, bring along a Wi-Fi hotspot so you avoid the frustration of slow internet. A travel-sized power strip can also save the day if everyone is fighting over one outlet to charge gadgets.

Work Out

There’s a reason the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot is so popular. Whether you head out in the morning for a quick run or get a day pass to a local gym, working out can give you an excuse to get out of the house for a bit. Exercise is also a proven stress reducer and mood enhancer, and will also make you feel less guilty about eating all that home-cooked food.

Knit running shoes like Nike Frees are lightweight and easy to pack, so bring a pair with you. You can also use them to go for a walk with the family after a big holiday dinner.

Can’t get out of the house? Pack exercise bands, which take up minimal space and can be used for an easy at-home workout (or to stretch after a long travel day or a rough night on the couch).


Don’t Dominate the Bathroom

Chances are, you won’t have a private bathroom while staying with family, so don’t leave your toiletries scattered all over the sink and shower. This innovative bag is a great solution, as it lets you lay out all your toiletries on a flat surface to use; when you’re done, simply fold it up and take it back to your room.

Be Your Own Climate Control

Unlike at a hotel, you don’t get control over the thermostat when staying with family. If you know the house is going to be cold, pack extra layers. In shoe-free houses, travel slippers keep you comfy. Merino wool sweaters are easy to layer without looking out of place, and a pashmina can double as a blanket. House too hot? A portable fan can be a lifesaver, and also act as a white noise machine at night.


Pack Modest Pajamas and a Robe

You probably don’t think twice about what you pack for sleepwear at a hotel, but you might want something a little more modest if you’re staying in someone’s home. Don’t forget to pack pajamas and a robe you won’t be embarrassed to be seen in, for those middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.

Bring Board Games

Worried about being bored? Pack travel-sized games that are fun for the whole family. Family Feud, UNO, and Scrabble are all good choices (depending on how competitive the crowd is).


Offer to Grocery Shop, Cook, or Buy Dinner

Try to make your visit as easy on the host as possible. Just because it’s your family doesn’t mean they’re responsible for cleaning up after you and cooking every meal. Show up with a restaurant gift card to let them know a few meals are on you, or offer to go grocery shopping and cook for everyone while you’re there.

Be Appreciative

Your presence is not your present. Make sure to show appreciation to your host for putting you up. A thank you note is never a bad idea. Some good gift ideas include: a bottle of wine and a wine chiller, a gift basket full of tasty treats, an easy-to-care-for plant, or a framed family photo.

The good news: You aren’t destined to fall off the fitness wagon just because life gets, well, busy during the holidays. With a little bit of planning and a whole lot of flexibility, you can maintain your workout program and feel your absolute best.

Figure out what derails your plans.

How to survive the holidays

Before we even get into the busy season, try to figure out what triggers cause you to skip a workout. Once you know these roadblocks, you can come up with a plan to avoid or at least minimize their impact. For example, if lack of sleep is a trigger, make a plan to shut down the electronics and go to bed 30 minutes earlier each night.

Make a plan.

How to survive the holidays

It’s a good idea to have a solid plan in place even before the craziness of the holidays is in full swing. What are you doing now for exercise? Get it down on paper and make a schedule. When life gets hectic, you will have your fitness roadmap at your fingertips.

Stick to a routine the best you can.

How to survive the holidays

Now that you have a plan, set a reoccurring workout reminder on your phone or use an app or even post-it notes at work. Make sure you have all the parties, school events, work shindigs and shopping trips on your calendar first, and try to find some consistency for when and how long to exercise. This will help you stick with it.

Exercise in the morning.

How to survive the holidays

Yes, you read that right. If you’re already a morning person, then sticking to your routine should be a piece of cake. For the rest of you, set the alarm 45 minutes earlier than normal and get out of bed. Even if you don’t brave the cold for a full-fledged run, at least you can fit in a 20 to 30-minute workout at home. Download a fitness app that has workouts, stream an online video or practice a few downward dogs and triangle poses.

Track your steps.

How to survive the holidays

If the idea of getting to the gym or scheduling time to go for a run has you in a panic, then focus on getting more than 10,000 steps a day. Walk while talking on the phone, while waiting for an appointment or during a work break.

Prioritize sleep.

How to survive the holidays

Are you getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep? When sleep is scarce, your workout is one of the first things to go. One of the simplest and most important ways to stay fit this season starts with the time you spend in the bedroom (asleep, that is). Set a sleep schedule and stick to it.

Ditch the long workouts and go for HIIT and full-body blasts.

How to survive the holidays

Slow and steady sweat sessions are hard to fit in during this busy time. Instead, opt for high-intensity interval workouts two or three days a week. Carve out 20 to 30 minutes and alternate between cardio intervals and bodyweight exercises. Try this workout for a 20-minute calorie crusher.

Choose exercises that move as many body parts as possible.

How to survive the holidays

Ditch the single muscle group workouts and opt for compound movements that work more than one area of the body, such as lunges with a bicep curl, squats with an overhead press or a plank with leg raises.

Take advantage of seasonal activities

How to survive the holidays

Don’t underestimate the calorie burn of holiday activities. Skating? Awesome workout. Sledding? Think about the hill sprints. Live near mountains or hiking paths? Hit the trails with your snowshoes. With the potential to burn 420 to 1000 calories per hour, snowshoeing is the best bang for your buck during the holiday season.

Find a workout buddy.

How to survive the holidays

If you have always been a solo exerciser, this might be a good time to hook up with a friend for accountability. Schedule a few days a week to meet at the gym or go for a run.

Get outside.

How to survive the holidays

Don’t be a fair-weather fitness bunny. Some of the best workouts happen in colder weather. Just make sure you stay safe and dress appropriately. Hit the running trails for a cardio session (the changes in elevation will do wonders) or take to the snow-covered streets with a fat bike (you can rent one). Both are challenging and work your body in different ways than your usual gym routine.

Set a short-term goal.

How to survive the holidays

Don’t wait for January to roll around to set a fitness goal. Pick one thing you want to work on for the month of December and make it happen. Train for a 5K, increase your weight on the squat, work out four days a week—you get the idea. Having a short-term goal on the horizon will help you stay committed and consistent.

Look into fitness accommodations for travel.

How to survive the holidays

If you are doing any traveling this holiday season, make sure to book a hotel that has a fitness center and/or pool so you can get a quick workout in before starting your day.

Keep a spare gym bag in the car.

How to survive the holidays

Keep an extra pair of workout clothes and shoes in the car for those days when you can squeeze in a sweat session between shopping trips or holiday parties. Just getting two or three extra workouts in can make a huge difference in how you feel for the month.

How to survive the holidays

John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

How to survive the holidays

Christina Reichl Photography / Getty Images

The holiday season is meant to be a joyous occasion that brings family and friends together. But even in the midst of all the excitement, there are often moments of stress and anxiety. If you are recovering from alcohol addiction, this broad spectrum of holiday emotions can challenge even your best intentions for recovery.

Though the risk of relapse runs high during the holidays, it is not inevitable. If you are in recovery from alcohol addiction, there are steps you can take to stay healthy and safe. Becoming aware of potentially triggering situations and knowing how to prepare for them can help minimize your risk of relapse and allow you to truly enjoy your holiday season.

Common Holiday Triggers

The holiday season can be a triggering time for many reasons. Knowing your potential holiday relapse triggers is of utmost importance in any stage of recovery.

Changes to Your Routine

People get time off of work, travel to see their families, spend time preparing for the holidays, and often don’t adhere to their typical routines during the holiday season. Your exercise routine, healthy eating patterns, and even your Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting attendance may fall by the wayside. All of these disruptions can put serious stress on your sobriety.

Holiday Parties

The holiday season is a time of celebration and gatherings are typically overloaded with alcohol. The sheer amount of alcohol present at some holiday get-togethers can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to recovery.

Family Stress

The holiday season is often about spending time with family members. If you have a strained relationship with your family, spending a significant amount of time with them could cause stress and even symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Seeing your family could also lead to you feeling guilty or ashamed about the effect your previous addictive behaviors had on your loved ones. All of these emotions can be triggering, especially if you used alcohol or drugs to escape them in the past.

Tips for Avoiding Holiday Relapse

The holidays can be challenging, but they don’t have to end in relapse. Here are some tips to prepare for stressful holiday situations and give yourself the best gift this holiday season: Continued sobriety!

Have a Pre-Planned Response

The holidays can be especially stressful for those recovering from an alcohol use disorder because alcohol is such a central part of many celebrations. If you expect to be offered a drink, think about how you will respond. A simple yet firm “no, thank you” is often enough, especially since long explanations and vague excuses can give you more opportunity to give in.

Additionally, you can:

  • Keep it simple: “I’m not drinking tonight” or “I have to get an early start to my day tomorrow.”
  • Don’t say a word: Keep a non-alcoholic drink with you during the party. This way, whenever someone tries to offer you alcohol, you can simply hold up your beverage, indicating that you’re not ready for another drink.
  • Say yes: “I would love a drink! Can I get water with lemon or a Coca-Cola?” Very few people will press anything alcoholic on you, but if they do, simply say, “Not right now, thank you, but a Coke would really hit the spot.”
  • Try humor: Remember, you don’t need to announce your sobriety unless you want to. Depending on how comfortable you feel about the subject, you may decide to just tell your truth and be done with it. “No thanks—even the top shelf booze isn’t tempting enough to make me throw away my sobriety!”

If you have some strategies prepared in advance, you’ll find this situation much easier to navigate.

There is also no rule saying that you have to attend every party you’re invited to. Your health and stability are far more valuable than one night of holiday celebration.

Bring a Friend

If you can’t get out of a party or other get-together that you’re worried about attending, ask a close friend or your sponsor to accompany you. Discuss your concerns ahead of time and make concrete plans for how you will both respond if you find yourself slipping. Bringing someone who understands your sobriety and can help you hold yourself accountable can make you feel stronger and more supported.

If you are traveling for the holidays, reach out to people you are close to and explain to them that you may need extra support during the holidays. Ask them if it would be OK to contact them every now and then. You can even ask them to check on you.

Create an Exit Strategy

You can’t always predict how a situation will play out or how you will feel. Having an exit strategy for potentially stressful holiday situations is essential.

Maybe your babysitter needs to get home, you have to wake up at the crack of dawn for an appointment, or nobody made it home to walk the dogs. You can even arrange for a friend to call during the event to add some credence to your “out.” Having a Plan B ready allows you to be able to gracefully bow out if needed.

You can also exit with an “Irish goodbye,” when you sneak out without telling anyone. While this may seem rude, it might be necessary if you feel as if your sobriety is in jeopardy.

Look Up Meetings in Your Area

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the holiday season. Confiding in others who are also in recovery can help you relieve some of that stress. During the holidays, AA continues to hold meetings. In fact, many groups have seasonal parties where food and fellowship abound and speakers talk of gratitude and of the real spirit of giving that is outlined in Step 12.

If you’re traveling, plan to attend a meeting wherever you will be and plan in advance. Try to find a local meeting long before you arrive and build it into your holiday schedule.

How to survive the holidays

survivor holiday entertaining food cooking turkey ettiquette family stress hostess crocodile alligator monster relatives.

By New York Times
November 26, 2012 – 8:48 AM

Here we go, it’s family time. Not just any family time, mind you, but family time that will include your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law. Clichéd as it might be, these relationships can be particularly charged.

Although some of you may enjoy spending time with your in-laws, many of you don’t. Either way, getting ready to spend the holidays with family can be stressful. How many of you wish, hope or even pray this time will be different with your in-laws? You are probably thinking, “Why can’t we, just this once, not have drama, not have the stress, not experience the tension that just seems to hang in the air?”

Holiday time with your in-laws doesn’t have to get the best of you. Shifting the way you see your situation will make it easier for you to shift the emotional feelings that go along with it, and this can make the difference between dread and delight. That may seem a bit extreme, but when you can “lighten” how you perceive things, you’ll actually be able to experience people in a different way.

Use these tips to help:

• Be a team player: If your in-law is coming to your house, make sure you include her (or him) in the different things that are occurring throughout the day: food/table preparation, have her bring something she likes to make, ask her questions, compliment her on something, try to make her feel comfortable and welcomed. Treat her as you would one of your friends who was attending your family gathering. If you are going to her house for the holiday, ask her if she’d like some help. And whether she does or doesn’t want your help, stay around and talk with her. Let her know you’re interested in her.

• Don’t take things personally: Everyone is more stressed during the holidays, including your in-law. As long as you can feel good about how you act/behave with her — that you treat her with respect and kindness — then you can be certain her actions are not about you.

• Find the humor: Decide to find humor in what your in-law says or does. When you do so you create an emotional distance that helps you take her actions less seriously. And by finding the humor you’ll also have some great stories to tell your friends later, about what she did “this” time.

Find some downtime for yourself: Quiet time can help you re-energize and regain your strength. Even just a few minutes by yourself can be just what you need to get your energy back.

Establish ground rules: Before arriving at your in-law’s house, you and your spouse should have already decided how long to stay. Then leave at the predetermined time. If your spouse wants to stay longer, take two cars. Let the family know when you arrive that you will need to leave at that specific time. If you live out of town and can’t leave to go back to your home, you and your husband may need to decide to stay in a hotel for the holiday. By staying at a hotel or with another family member you’ll always be able to return to a “haven.”

These tips can help you make a stressful situation more manageable. You might find you actually enjoy your time with the family, even your in-law.

How to survive the holidays

As a friend of mine says, “Reality is unavoidable.” The reality of many people’s holidays includes too much to do and not enough time, too much to purchase and not enough money and too much to eat and not enough willpower. On the other hand, some people experience not enough family, fun and friendship. Fighting against the reality of your life at this moment will only make you bluer. Instead, be kind to yourself, laugh at yourself every now and then, seek support and vow to make some changes during a less stressful time of year.

How to survive the holidays

As families change and grow, traditions will change as well. For example, if you are a working woman who had a stay-at-home mother, instead of trying to reproduce the exact old-fashioned holiday of your childhood, infuse what you can do with meaning, beauty and love. Or if you are divorced, share the holidays with your ex with as much generosity and harmony as you can conjure up. It will be the best gift you give to your kids this year. If you are single or far away from your family, invite others into your home and give the words “extended family” new meaning.

How to survive the holidays

Help others not because you should, but because it is the best antidote to self-pity and seasonal sadness. Find someone who is struggling more than you are, lend them a helping hand, and remember the real meaning of the holidays.

How to survive the holidays

Drop into a Christian church or Muslim mosque or Jewish synagogue or Hindu template or. you get the idea. Sometimes just sitting in sacred space can remind you of the true meaning of the holidays. Most places of worship welcome all people, even those just looking for a touch of grace in the midst of a stressful day. Instead of hurrying by that church you have passed a hundred times on the way to work, take a moment to enter its doors and sit quietly, imbibing the atmosphere and the prayers of its members.

How to survive the holidays

Eat well, drink a lot of water, exercise and then be merry. Instead of making one more feeble New Year’s resolution to join a gym or take a yoga class, do it right now. You will be amazed at how just the littlest bit of movement will lift your spirits and how reducing the amount of junk food, sugar and alcohol will reduce your blues. And sleep—for goodness’ sake, do whatever it takes to get enough of it. Sleep deprivation is at the root of many people’s depression.

How to survive the holidays

Don’t close your eyes the next time you use your credit card. Overspending during the holidays will not only increase your stress now, but will leave you feeling anxious for months afterward as you struggle to pay the bills. Buck the holiday system of excessive gift-giving and practice simplicity, creativity and basic human kindness.

How to survive the holidays

If a friend or family member has recently died or if you’re far away from home, practice the lost art of grieving. Create an altar with pictures of those you love; light candles every night for someone you have lost; play sacred music and allow yourself to cry, remember, heal.

How to survive the holidays

Forgiveness is the slave that heals a broken spirit. Forgive all sorts of people this holiday season—those from your past, your work, your family and the ones in the news whom you love to hate. Read the stories of people (like Martin Luther King Jr. or Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee) who have used forgiveness to move mountains. If they can do it, so can we.

How to survive the holidays

Everything. Love it all. Even the hard times; even the cranky and crooked people of the world; even yourself, with all of your appalling shortcomings.

How to survive the holidays

The advice in this article will help those of us who feel occasional stress and sadness during the holidays. Dr. Kenneth Johnson, a psychiatrist at Columbia St. Mary’s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, says: “You don’t have to have full-blown depression to experience the holiday blues. … But if you have a period of more than two weeks where you have a depressed mood, crying spells, sleep problems, feelings of guilt and thoughts of death or suicide, you probably have a major depression and should seek medical care. You’re moving beyond the holiday blues.

Holidays, birthdays and anniversaries are often joyous. But special family occasions can feel bittersweet, lonely or sad when someone you love has died. If you’ve lost someone close to you, Legacy has experts and other resources to help you cope during holiday seasons and throughout the year.

Flickr Creative Commons / Luz

Join a discussion and talk with others about surviving special occasions, or browse below for advice from grief and loss experts.

What do you do—or avoid doing—to help you get through the holidays? How do you handle your loved one’s birthday or death anniversary? Share your tips in the comments section below.


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On the Anniversary of the Death

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I just lost another close family member, my only sister, Nov 18, 2011. I’m starting to think Nov is not my time of the year! I have lost my 2 brothers, my husband and now my sister in the month of Nov. Each death was also sudden. I have no other living family that is older then myself, except one 1st. cousin and she is the oldest living family member, I’m the next and I’m only 61yrs. old. Thanksgiving and Christmas has never been the same since my little brother died, Nov 22, 1974. Nine years and one day from being the exact day, Nov 23, 1983, my older brother died. My husband died Nov 12, 1991 and now my last and only sibling.

It’s been a month now, since I lose my Big Brother, one of 5 brothers and 5 sisters. ‘m the oldest. We buried our parents and for that We, were blessed that the folks did not buried one of their children. I’m the oldest and the lost of oldest of the boys has hit me hard. The pain and void in my heart feels the absents in my soul. He & I were head of the family, we could only try to fix the disgreedments amoung members of the our family. We, always seem to know how to agreed with one another-He was the DON of our family and I was his Big Sis, who he could always count on for anything. He knew as I did that I would be there by his side with notice or summons. His, wife and children always came 1st but never second did he put his brothers and sisters. He was our Rock and I so miss him-and selfishly wish he could have hang on a little longer, but his pain and suffering no-longer could hang on and he left us. To a better place it is told. that’s the misery of death and how to understand the pain of his lose. Thanksgiving Holidays will never be the same another more, because of his passing. I pray to understand and accept the he is in a better place then here on earth with all of his love ones.

It has been said that you should talk to the dead because they can hear you. Photos have been taken that show the deceased are around or even touching you. Do not care what others think.

I don’t know what I am going to do for the holidays this year. This will be my first year without my brother for Christmas and thanksgiving and my birthday. and I dont want to celebrate any of them. I am so afraid. I am so afraid that I am not going to make it. The only fear I have is that I might not make it to heaven.

This past November near Thanksgiving it was a year that dearest nephew Ismael flew in a cloud to

to heaven to be near our savior Jesus whom he loved very much. He was like a son to me even there was no blood related to me. I saw him growing to be a handsome, smart jouyful young man in a spite of his bitterness growing up without a mother’s care. I miss him so much but I know he’s in a very loving hands; our Lord!

I lost my son Jon in 2003 at the age of 20. I have gone through all of the emotions connected with losing a child. My comfort comes from not letting Jon’s death destroy me or my family. I want his life and death to leave a positive effect on this earth. I began doing simple things like saying a kind word to someone. For each unexpected positive thing I did, I told myself I was doing it for Jon. In turn I received the gift of hearing a kind “thank you” and seeing a beautiful smile. I don’t know why I had to lose my child and why my son’s life was cut short. But I do believe that his spirit lives on. For with this belief I strive to live honoring the child who will forever be part of me. I also have a website where parents can share stories of how they have felt a connection with the child they lost. at google.

I lost my dad August 1st and now my husbands grandma the 10th of December. Grandma had been in a nursing facility for six years and was one month shy of being 100 and my father was 80. My sister and I found our dad in his bed at home with his little dog sitting on his hand. Oh talk about heartwrenching. We always had holiday gatherings at my house and it seems like he should be walking in the door any minute. I had just seen my father on Friday and hugged him and told him I loved him not knowing that would be my last hug and kiss. I talked to him on Saturday and then Sunday morning we found him. It kills me that he was all alone unlike my grandma who had family around and her son was holding her hand. I wonder when the pain will get better. My children grew up next door to grandma and grandpa so they were so blessed to have the experience of that. Her name for her was “Grandma next door” and she loved it. My faith has gotten me through alot even this double whammy but it is so hard to not fall apart sometimes.

I lost my dad August 1st and now my husbands grandma the 10th of December. Grandma had been in a nursing facility for six years and was one month shy of being 100 and my father was 80. My sister and I found our dad in his bed at home with his little dog sitting on his hand. Oh talk about heartwrenching. We always had holiday gatherings at my house and it seems like he should be walking in the door any minute. I had just seen my father on Friday and hugged him and told him I loved him not knowing that would be my last hug and kiss. I talked to him on Saturday and then Sunday morning we found him. It kills me that he was all alone unlike my grandma who had family around and her son was holding her hand. I wonder when the pain will get better. My children grew up next door to grandma and grandpa so they were so blessed to have the experience of that. Her name for her was “Grandma next door” and she loved it. My faith has gotten me through alot even this double whammy but it is so hard to not fall apart sometimes.

9-13-2004.In the Arms of Angels
Forever and Always your mom,

She Talks To Angels And Dances Too

9-13-2004.In the Arms of Angels
Forever and Always your mom,

Jan 27, 2020 • 5 min read

How to survive the holidays

How to find – and survive – a holiday romance

Jan 27, 2020 • 5 min read

When you go on a solo adventure, you learn to expect the unexpected… but travelers rarely anticipate the unexpected could be a holiday or travel romance. It has happened to me several times, and while I’ve always found it rich and exciting, it has also taught me a few lessons about love on the road.

How to survive the holidays

I am a 30-year-old female traveler. The nomadic lifestyle I chose for myself a few years ago hasn’t allowed me to build long-lasting romantic relationships. I have lived in more countries and cities than I can recall, and fallen in and out of love along the way. I moved from a Couchsurfing community in Peru to a shared flat with friends in Germany, then backpacked across Japan (three times) to eventually start a business in Vietnam. To survive this emotional rollercoaster, I had to teach myself how to deal with the expectations travel romances create, as well as their bittersweet endings.

How does travel romance blossom?

It is easier than we think to find love while traveling; we are usually at the top of our game after all. More laid back, outside of our regular environment, far from the pressure of work and maybe the gaze of our friends and families, we break free from some of the restrictions we – consciously or not – put on ourselves at home. That’s usually how we make it possible for love to catch us off guard.

How to survive the holidays

Travel romances have always started for me at the most unexpected times. My first meaningful travel story started in Hualien, Taiwan and ended in Okinawa, Japan — with many winding turns and beautiful memories in between. I didn’t know he had been eyeing me from the first day; I only realized later that spending more time with him would enhance my journey, so I made my travel plans coincide with his. That’s how my happiest trip to Okinawa happened. If it hadn’t been for him, I would probably never have discovered so soon that Naha Island has such beautiful sunsets on the beach.

How to survive the holidays

While a holiday romance can come in the form of a local, for me, it’s generally happened with other travelers for simple reasons: shared accommodation makes it easier to meet and the tourist sights help arrange a common schedule and more opportunity to get to know each other. Besides, I travel more often to countries where I can’t speak the language, which tends to limit my interactions with locals — maybe body language can suffice when it comes to some aspects of the romance, but personally, I still need a proper introduction!

What to expect from a holiday romance

The instability inherent to travel tends to make holiday romances very special; because they are limited in time and space, they are often an accelerated version of a traditional love story. You meet, you live, you part, sometimes in a timespan of a few days. From traveling solo, you suddenly jump into a full-on adventure with somebody, spending all your time with them while knowing you might only have a couple of days to enjoy their company. The setting only amplifies both the love and the location. Add the fact that short-lived romances are usually exempt from the pressure of tomorrow, and get ready for one of the most emotional journeys of your trip!

How to survive the holidays

When you encounter romance along the way, you must do two things: enjoy it as much as you can, and manage your expectations. One of my favorite things when my solo trip turns into a two-person holiday is the new dynamics it creates; the feeling of attraction with another person full of travel passion coupled with new momentum to enjoy activities that you might not have taken up on your own. It can create space for more exploration and, as our world is designed for duos, it has a practical advantage; you now become eligible to all these travel activities made for at least two.

Now for expectation management: it might sound unromantic but trust me, it will help you cope when facing the inevitable end of your love story. As strong as your feelings might be away from home with this undoubtedly beautiful person, it likely has a very real expiration date, often in the form of a ticket back home. So unless one of you, or both, are flexible enough to bend your travel plans (and it’s not that easy to decide), or feel like transforming your holiday romance into something more, it is very unlikely it will turn into a solid long-term relationship. That’s a big leap of faith based on one brief, shared experience.

How to survive the holidays

You might have felt like you’ve never felt before. You might even have fallen in love. But a long-lasting relationship is built on persistence, actions, and consistency over time. Will you be able to demonstrate these to each other during only a few days or weeks on holiday?

What to do when travel romance ends

The end of a romance is never an easy transition. It is at best bittersweet, and at worst leaves you bursting into tears any moment — the result depends on how you manage your expectations. I have gone through bitterness, sadness, and a great deal of frustration after my own travel romances have ended because, whatever we say and however detached and self-sufficient we believe we are, we are all looking for love.

How to survive the holidays

So what to do if your romance has come to an end and it seems the world has faded a little bit with it? What to do if, despite your desire to travel more, your heart aches? Well, there are not many choices: you will have to heal and move on. It hurts, and that’s okay. The fact a chapter is ending doesn’t mean it wasn’t written. Love is going away, but it was there. And there is beauty in this.

If it made you feel good, if it made your heart grow, if you know those feelings you created will remain forever in your soul, honor your feelings and gracefully tuck them away in your memory box, right where they belong.

Do you still want to travel and see more? Well, the world is big enough! Don’t worry. You will love a person in some corner of the world and, rest assured, lasting love will come around eventually.

How to survive the holidays

For most, the holiday season means a whole lot of travel, food and to-dos…and little time, space or energy for exercise. But your fitness doesn’t have to take a backseat to a packed seasonal schedule — and this home workout, made up of just five exercises (all from Daily Burn 365), is proof.

The total-body bodyweight routine is low-impact, so you won’t bother others by jumping around. And you don’t need any equipment, either. Plus, you’ll target multiple muscles in each efficient move, working your body from top to bottom along the way. All you need is 15 minutes and a space the size of an exercise mat. Follow along pre- or post-feasting with the fam — or better yet, both.

The Home Workout You Need This Holiday Season

Perform each combination exercise below in order for 40 seconds each. Rest for 20 seconds between each exercise — or skip the breather and keep going if you have the stamina. Repeat the circuit at least twice for three total rounds.

How to survive the holidays

1. Walk Out to Shoulder Tap

How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart (a). Reach down to touch the ground (try to keep your legs straight) and walk your hands out to a high plank position (b). Tap your left shoulder with your right hand, then your right shoulder with your left hand. Engage your legs, abs and glutes so your hips stay steady (c). Walk your hands back to your feet and stand up (d). Repeat.

How to survive the holidays

2. Lunge to Front Pull

How to: Start standing with feet a little wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. Bring your arms straight up overhead (a). Lower into a sumo squat as your pull your elbows down and back by your sides (b). Stand back up, bringing arms overhead (c). Next, turn to your right as your bring your arms down to shoulder height and lower into a lunge, both knees bent to 90 degrees (d). Stand back up, bringing arms overhead (e). Repeat the turn and lunge, this time turning to your left side (f). Continue alternating sides with a front pull between each lunge.

How to survive the holidays

3. Shuffle Side Punch

How to: Start standing with feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Hold your fists at your face like a boxer (a). Shuffle your feet, taking two steps to the left (b). Using your hips to help drive the movement, punch your right arm out to the side, palm facing downward. Then quickly bring your fist back to your face (c). Shuffle to the right two steps (d). Then punch your left arm out to the side, palm facing downward and then quickly bring your fist back to your face (e). Repeat.

How to survive the holidays

4. Squat with Hamstring Curl and High Pull

How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Lower down into a squat, sending your hips back and down and keeping your weight in your heels (a). As you stand back up, bend your right leg behind you, kicking your heel toward your butt for a hamstring curl. Simultaneously pull your elbows back at shoulder height to perform a high pull (b). Repeat the squat (c). Repeat the hamstring curl on your right leg, while also repeating the high pull (d). Continue alternating hamstring curls, with a squat in between.

How to survive the holidays

5. Boat to Side Plank

How to: Start sitting on a mat. Lean back about 45 degrees and bring your knees up into a tabletop position, arms straight out by your legs. You should be in boat pose with knees bent (a). Roll onto your left side to hit a side plank, legs out straight, elbow under your shoulder and creating a straight line from shoulders to hips to ankles (b). Roll back onto your butt to hit boat pose again (c). Then roll onto your right side to hit a side plank (d). Repeat, performing boat pose between each side plank.

Want more workouts you can do at home? Sign up HERE for Daily Burn 365, and start your free trial today!

Note to reader: The content in this article relates to the core service offered by Daily Burn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by Daily Burn.

How to survive the holidays

LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

Miriam Caldwell has been writing about budgeting and personal finance basics since 2005. She teaches writing as an online instructor with Brigham Young University-Idaho, and is also a teacher for public school students in Cary, North Carolina.

How to survive the holidays

How to survive the holidays

The holiday season is one of giving, which often means it can easily become the season of spending too.

To help take the stress out of the holiday season, consider creating and sticking to a holiday budget. Not only will a holiday spending plan help lessen your stress, but it will also keep you from overspending and potentially racking up debt this holiday season. Learn how to start budgeting for the holidays in order to make the most of it, and lessen the blow to your wallet.

Begin With a List of Holiday Expenses

To start saving ahead of the holidays, it helps to create a plan. Begin by making a list of all of your expected holiday expenses. Here is an example:

  • Gifts for friends and loved ones
  • Travel
  • Holiday food (spending outside your normal food budget)
  • Gift exchanges at work
  • Gift wrapping supplies
  • Shipping costs
  • Tips or gifts for service providers
  • Bonuses for employees, such as a nanny
  • Charitable donations

Making a list will give you a basic idea of things that you will need to pay for and easier to prioritize if you have to limit your spending this year.

In addition to listing out your expenses, create a detailed shopping list. For each individual you are gifting, you should have one or two ideas within a designated price range. This will help you to do proper research and find the best deals on items, as well as pick a present that your recipient will truly appreciate.

Decide on Your Spending Limit

Now that you know where your money is going, determine how much you have available to cover holiday expenses this year. It’s important to take a hard look at your budget and decide how much money you have leftover to spend during the gift-giving season.

When you are considering this amount, be sure that you only use money that you have set aside or extra money that you can find in your budget. It’s important to not plan on spending more than you have saved initially with a plan to pay it off later.

When holiday shopping, you may want to stick to a cash-only system. Putting the gifts on a credit card makes it easier to overspend. Credit cards almost always have double-digit interest rates, and a $1,000 charge to a credit card for holiday gifts paid back at the minimum payment could end up costing you $1,800 or more.

Consider speaking with family members and close friends about a predetermined spending limit ahead of the holiday season. This is especially great for those doing gift exchanges. A price limit can help you, as well as others, stay within their means.

Assign Money to Each Category

Divide your budget according to the different spending categories you’ll have this holiday season.

This means assigning a specific amount for each gift, as well as each outing, office holiday party, or another event. If you’re traveling to your grandma’s in Florida, for example, the travel there and the gift you purchased for grandma would be two separate categories. Knowing how much you have to spend on each gift will help you narrow down ideas before you shop.

Track Your Purchases

Once you begin the holiday season, keep track of all your purchases. Bring your gift list, along with your budget sheet, with you on every shopping trip. Additionally, be sure to keep track of the cost of your holiday-related outings and other spends so you will be able to more accurately budget next year.

As you begin to purchase gifts and spend money, be sure to subtract the amount from your running Christmas budget total. This will let you know how well you are sticking to your budget and will make it easier to make adjustments between categories if needed. Tracking your spending is the biggest key to sticking to your budget.

Other Tips for Saving Money During the Holidays

How you spend and save for the holiday season will depend on the individual. But if you make a plan ahead of time, you can reduce the financial impact of the holidays.

Below, find a few other ways to cut back on spending during the holiday season.

Charles Passy

‘It’s not about Juneteenth. It’s about what happens the other 11 months of the year’

A family attends the 2021 Juneteenth Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There are concerns about over-commercializing the holiday that’s been observed by Black Americans since the 19th century.

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Referenced Symbols

It’s been only a year since Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, was designated a federal holiday. But there’s already growing concern about whether it’s being honored in the right way by corporations and consumers alike.

The June 19 holiday — officially observed on June 20 this year because the 19th falls on a Sunday — marks the day in 1865 that federal troops came to Galveston, Texas, to free enslaved Black people in the state, almost two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. Not every state had put an end to slavery following the signing.

Juneteenth had been observed in Black communities as far back as the 19th century, and it became a Texas state holiday in 1980, with other states eventually following suit. Finally, in 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday.

“This is a day of profound weight and profound power, a day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take,” Biden said last year of Juneteenth.

The holiday is a solemn one in many respects, and perhaps even more so at a time when questions have been raised about lack of diversity in the workplace, law enforcement’s treatment of Black Americans, and other longstanding systemic problems.

“ ‘We should celebrate in a mindful way, but also in a way that insists we keep working to create the country we want this country to become.’ ”

— Erica Ball, a professor of Black studies at Occidental College

At the same time, there’s an element of joy to Juneteenth.

“It’s a day of celebration,” said Robert Randolph, the Grammy-nominated musician behind a Juneteenth Unityfest event that was set to take place in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Sunday. Randolph said he envisions Juneteenth becoming a kind of Black equivalent to what St. Patrick’s Day means for the Irish community.

Still, some wonder how far the partying should go.

“Juneteenth is tricky,” said Erica Ball, a professor of Black studies at Occidental College in California. She understands the desire to make Juneteenth a fun occasion, but she also believes the holiday should be about something larger. “We should celebrate in a mindful way, but also in a way that insists we keep working to create the country we want this country to become,” Ball said.

It’s clear that some lines may have already been crossed, particularly in corporate America. Companies looking to mark the holiday with merchandise offerings or other promotions have faced backlash.

The most notable example: Walmart WMT, +0.59% last month released a Juneteenth-themed ice cream, among other items, and was immediately faulted for attempting to profit off the holiday. One observer on social media called it a “shameless performative act” and suggested Walmart would have been better off using the money to fund lobbyists promoting legislation that would benefit people of color.

Soon after the criticisms were levied, Walmart said in a statement that the “Juneteenth holiday marks a celebration of freedom and independence. However, we received feedback that a few items caused concern for some of our customers and we sincerely apologize. We are reviewing our assortment and will remove items as appropriate.”

Beyond issues involving merchandise, there’s the larger concern that Juneteenth could become just another holiday whose meaning is lost altogether and turns into an excuse to relax or shop. Think how Memorial Day is more associated with the start of summertime fun than with remembering those who died defending our country.

Earl Fowlkes, Jr., the president of the Center for Black Equity, a Black LGBTQ organization, says we should accept the reality. He fully expects that Juneteenth sales — much like Presidents Day sales, for example — will become baked into the retail calendar. “We live in a capitalist society,” he said.

Fowlkes added that it’s more important to deal with the challenges facing Black communities on an ongoing basis than to figure out how to make the most of one day.

“The deal is it’s not about Juneteenth,” he said. “It’s about what happens the other 11 months of the year.”

Consider just one issue when it comes to corporate America — namely, how few Black Americans are represented on the boards of directors of prominent companies. A study last year found that 81% of board seats filled by directors new to Fortune 500 boards in 2020 were filled by white directors. When it comes to board diversification, the study concluded, progress remains “painfully slow.”

In that regard, Stephanie Leonard, an assistant professor of management at Howard University, says that if companies plan to join the Juneteenth bandwagon in any way, they should be prepared to face tough questions about their diversity practices.

“I think it’s always great to hold companies’ feet to the fire,” she said.

At least one prominent Black journalist goes so far as to argue that Juneteenth shouldn’t be celebrated at the national level. Ernest Owens, the editor at large of Philadelphia magazine, makes the case that the holiday is essentially a Black Texas event. And as a former Texas resident, he feels Juneteenth is now losing its meaning as it’s embraced more widely, he told MarketWatch.

“Corporations, white people, and East/West Coast Black folks who found out about it have exploited/commodified its meaning,” Owens tweeted this month.

Not that anyone is expecting the country to reverse course and make Juneteenth strictly a state holiday. But many say the jury is still out as to how the holiday will be observed years from now: Will Juneteenth sales and Juneteenth merchandise become the order of the day? Will Juneteenth turn into a day of fun or a day of remembrance?

Kim Crowder, a consultant who specializes in diversity, equity and inclusion issues, said we may not know the answer for quite some time.

This will “take years to figure out,” she said.

You are reading Anywhere But Here, our summer-long series on travel at home and abroad, serving up the information and inspiration you need.

After the 18 months we’ve had, many of us are aching for a holiday, but you might be a little hesitant about enjoying a staycation or jetting abroad with a new partner.

There are so many things to consider when you’re going on holiday with a partner for the first time. Will you argue? Will you want to do the same activities? Will their snoring be unbearable? It’s perhaps no wonder that almost a quarter (23%) of couples feel more nervous than excited about their first trip together.

A third (33%) of Brits are most nervous about using the toilet in close confines with their partner, not having any time to themselves (27%) and having their partner see how they look first thing in the morning (28%).

In the new survey by, 62% of Brits also said going on holiday with their significant other is a “make or break” situation. Talk about pressure.

How to survive the holidays

Many see holidays as a time for indulgence, which is why 34% of Brits said the most annoying thing their partner can do on holiday is being tight with their money. Meanwhile 31% of Brits said making the hotel messy would be their biggest pet peeve and 25% said they wouldn’t want their partner to wake up late and miss the hotel buffet.

So, how do you have a successful first break? Keeping the room tidy and being open to new activities and ideas will help, as will pushing your toilet worries to one side (remember: everyone poops!) Dating coach and relationship expert Hayley Quinn also shares these tips:

Great Expectations

“Big expectations can often lead to disappointment. After a year of being cooped up, for a lot of couples, summer 2021 represents their first opportunity to go on holiday: this can create a lot of pressure for everything to go perfectly. Remember things invariably never go exactly to plan, so don’t sweat if you don’t bag the best hotel sun loungers on the first morning! Enjoy being in the moment instead.”

There’s no time like the present

“Get off the grid! And yes, that means the Instagram grid too. A holiday is a great excuse to switch off, and you may find you connect better with your partner if you factor in a few phone-free days. Get off the gram, switch on your out of the office and get yourself to the hotel bar. Doing novel activities will also help you to be more present with your partner.”

Try a mini break first

“Before committing to that two-week summer vacation, road test how your relationship works abroad by going on a mini-break. A low-pressure shorter hotel staycation will help you to iron out any potential differences before you commit to a longer haul destination.”

Money, money, money

“It may not sound sexy, but budgeting is an important part of any long-term relationship. As your lives and finances become more intertwined, it’s important that you’re on the same page with your attitude to money. As a general rule of thumb, the budget for your holiday should be affordable to the lower-income partner.”

Communication is key

“A first holiday together signals a gear shift in your relationship where perhaps things are becoming a little more serious. It may also throw up some points of incompatibility. If you’re seeing this person as a long-term partner these are actually all good conversations to have. Remember it’s not about having everything in common, to begin with; it’s about your ability to communicate and resolve any conflicts that really make the difference.”

Travel is the story of our summer. The rules (and traffic lights) are always changing, but one thing’s clear, we dream of being Anywhere But Here. This seasonal series offers you clear-headed travel advice, ideas-packed staycation guides, clever swaps and hacks, and a healthy dose of wanderlust.

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How to Survive the Overwhelm of the Holiday Season While Keeping Your Mindset and Body Movement on Track by Coach T

This week, we’re sharing an epic throwback episode from Coach T where he gives advice on how to navigate the stress, overwhelm and oftentimes obligation we feel during the holiday season. I just listened to the whole episode myself and I’ve got to say, much like a favorite holiday recipe, it’s one part pep talk. two parts straight talk, with a heaping spoonful of motivation and compassion mixed in. Let the festivities begin!

  • Internal stress and external stress
  • The two camps of progress
  • Holiday stress is a global phenomenon
  • The overwhelm and added pressure of the holidays
  • Preparing for potential setbacks
  • The expectations others have of you
  • Staying compliant to your movement program
  • Thriving despite distraction
  • The worst thing you can do
  • Movement is the one thing that counteracts internal and external threats
  • Why putting off your movement meds over the holidays is a mistake
  • Stress of family and stress from lack of family
  • Preparation expectation
  • Asking for help is not a weakness
  • Delegating what you can no longer accomplish with guilt
  • Knowing when it’s time to rest
  • Validation
  • Guard your time
  • Dealing with loneliness during the holidays
  • Don’t take the holiday drama seriously
  • Remember who you are
  • Keep doing what you’re doing
  • Have a good time! Choose to be happy.

How to survive the holidays

You might be going ho-ho-home for the holidays. But before you do that, health experts have some safety guidelines that you’ll want to check twice.

About 60% of the US population is fully vaxxed against COVID-19. And tens of millions of Americans are eligible for a booster shot. But, reminder: we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. And the new Omicron variant is spreading around the country — and world. All of which could make holiday planning complicated.

How to Stay Safe While Celebrating the Holidays

The CDC’s top rec: get vaxxed. The agency says it’s “the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk,” especially as different generations get together for the holidays. Here’s what else you can do to stay safe when celebrating with…

Family and friends… Masks are still the best accessory for everyone two years and older. Especially for those who are unvaxxed. And even those with a vax card should consider a mask if celebrating in an area with high transmission rates. Outdoor and well-ventilated spaces are best for big meet-ups. But if you’re sick, stay home and Zoom into the festivities. And if you might have been exposed to the virus, health experts recommend getting tested .

Psst. If you’re planning to host or attend a celebration, you might want to ask friends and family about their vax status. We’ve got tips on how to do that here .

Those at higher risk of COVID-19. Including those who are 65+. Or who have underlying medical conditions (weakened immune system, heart conditions, diabetes). Fully vaxxed people who fall under this category may still be vulnerable to the virus. So, it’s important to take basic preventative measures . Btw, people who are in this group are eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot. We’ve got more on that here .

Young children. Many are now eligible for a vaccine. The FDA and CDC have given Pfizer/BioTech’s vaccine the green light for emergency use in kids aged five to 11 — which are available now. (Remember: Starting in the summer, adolescents aged 12-15 became eligible to get a dose of Pfizer’s shot.)

In the meantime, the CDC recs that unvaxxed family members — including children ages two and older — wear a mask indoors. If younger than two, it’s best to limit visits with people who aren’t vaccinated. And keep children at a safe distance from others in public.

Oh, and health experts have given people the ‘all clear’ to get vaxxed against COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. And says curbside or drive-thru vax clinics might be the best way to go. Especially in communities with high transmission of COVID-19. Oh, and. health experts have given people the ‘all clear’ to get vaxxed against COVID-19 and the flu at the same time .

What about travel?

If you’re vaccinated, there are steps you should still take to stay safe. Wear a mask on public transportation ( it’s a requirement ). And monitor yourself for any COVID-19 symptoms after your trip. The CDC suggests that those traveling with unvaxxed kids for the holidays take short road trips. And if you have to fly, consider picking a flight that doesn’t require layovers. (Also, watch out for increased flight cancellations .) If you’re unvaxxed, get tested before and after your trip to ensure you’re good to go. And, when in doubt, follow the 2020 motto: mask up, social distance, and wash your hands.

For those saying ‘see U(SA) later,’ here are some tips for staying safe…

Review the State Dept’s travel advisories. Officials are warning against travel to several countries due to COVID-19. Check the list out here.

Fully vaxxed people who’ve been exposed to the virus don’t have to quarantine and can travel. That is unless they have COVID-19 symptoms. Then, health officials say to ‘isolate stat.’ Do not travel. (Remember: It may help to check in on your destination’s travel rules.) And call your doctor. Stay home for 14 days after exposure. Travel tip: If you need to get to a doctor, opt for an ambulance or private vehicle. No public transportation, if you can.

The testing guidelines for Americans returning to the US changed on Dec. 6. Those traveling internationally to the US must have a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of departure — regardless of vaccination status. Travelers who recently recovered from COVID-19 must show two items: A positive test that’s less than 90 days old. And a letter from a licensed doc or public official stating you’re now clear to travel. Children under two can skip this requirement.

If you have family or friends visiting from abroad, heads up: On Nov. 8, the US welcomed fully vaccinated travelers from more than 30 countries. Here’s what they should know:

Vaccines that are authorized by the FDA or World Health Organization are fair game.

There are a few exemptions from the vax requirement, including those under 18.

All international travelers — not including children under two — still have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to airlines before boarding. (Reminder: Citizens traveling to the US must get a negative COVID test within one day of departur e . Regardless of vaccination status.)


The holiday season is a time to be merry with your loved ones. But during a pandemic, extra precautions and planning are necessary. After all, health and good company can make the best gifts.

Updated on Dec. 8 to include new CDC testing requirements for inbound international travel.

Updated on Nov. 8 to reflect that fully vaxxed international travelers can come into the US.

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Planning a trip or end-of-year celebration? For many people, this time of year is associated with gatherings of family and friends, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the new Omicron variant raise many questions on how to stay safe. Whatever you have planned for the coming weeks, we hope these tips help you and your family enjoy a healthy holiday season.

Be risk aware

The level of risk depends greatly on where you live. Follow guidance from your local authorities and stay informed about COVID-19 transmission and vaccination rates in your area. In places with low rates of COVID-19 transmission and high rates of vaccination, there is less risk for fully vaccinated people, but unvaccinated people, including children, can still be at risk of infection.

It’s still recommended to continue taking precautions such as physical distancing, wearing a mask near others and frequent hand washing.

Different activities also carry different risks. For any in-person gatherings, consider whether others in the group are vaccinated, if they take precautions, and where and for how long you’ll be meeting – meeting outside and for shorter periods of time have less risk.

Get vaccinated

WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and have been shown to be highly effective at protecting against severe illness and death from COVID-19. The vaccines also help to protect those around you. No vaccine offers 100 per cent protection though, so it is important to continue taking precautions to protect yourself and others even once vaccinated. This includes wearing a mask, physical distancing and regular handwashing.

If you are feeling ill, stay home

Do not attend or host gatherings if you or someone in your family is sick or has symptoms of COVID-19. Stay home, seek medical advice and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Consider any travel plans carefully

All travel comes with some risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. Before you travel, check if COVID-19 is spreading in your local area and in any of the places you are going.

Do not travel if you or your family are sick, have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Unvaccinated family members who are at higher risk for severe illness (older family members, those with underlying medical conditions) should consider postponing all travel until they are fully vaccinated.

If you do choose to travel, try to avoid travelling at peak times. Check for any travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, quarantining and testing requirements in your local area, and all places you’re planning to visit. Keep in mind, these policies may change with little advance notice and your travel plans may be disrupted. If flying, carefully check the travel requirements of your airline carrier.

When you return home, follow recommendations or requirements from your national or local authorities, and continue to follow all the key precautions – including watching for any symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical advice if they develop.

Take precautions while in public

Here are some of the key precautions you and your family can take when outside:

  • Avoid crowded places, confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, and try to practice physical distancing from people in public, keeping at least 1 metre distance between yourself and others
  • Wear masks when in public places where COVID-19 is widespread and physical distancing is not possible
    > Read more on mask tips for families
  • Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
    > Read more on handwashing
  • Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth)
  • Seek medical care early if you or your child has a fever, cough, difficulty breathing or other symptoms of COVID-19
    > Read: Staying safe outside during COVID-19

Avoid large gatherings

Crowded, confined and enclosed spaces with poor ventilation and mass gatherings such as concerts, events and parties can be especially risky. If possible, outdoor gatherings are safer. If you are planning a get together with friends and family from different households, consider taking extra precautions before you meet, such as taking a COVID-19 test if available.

Consider the needs of your loved ones

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for everyone and many people will be worried about being around groups of people, even their loved ones. If possible, try reaching out to your friends and relatives before meeting to see how they are doing and to talk about any concerns.

Consider postponing any visits to unvaccinated family members or friends who have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (older family members, grandparents, family members with underlying medical conditions) or taking extra precautions when around them. This may include wearing a mask, regardless of your vaccination status, and keeping children at a distance from those family members wherever possible.

Every family has to take decisions based on their own situation. Take the time to explain decisions and rules with your children – and why it matters.

Remember, our individual decisions don’t just affect us, but the people around us as well. Stay safe and we wish you and your family happy and healthy holidays!

How to survive the holidays

Christmas 2016 is a bit of a blur. I can piece most of it together through photos, but I openly admit that my memories are spotty, to say the least. I was at the tail end of my final attempt to control my alcohol use and it wasn’t going well. I had set out to get through the holidays without booze, but the more I attempted to restrict, make rules and monitor my use, the more obsessed with the idea of drinking I became. The holiday happy hours and beer advent calendars were too tempting to avoid.

I realized by New Year’s Day, after I’d blacked out an entire weekend of my life from a simple night out with friends, that I had to call a spade a spade: Alcohol wasn’t serving me.

My drinking had long been a problem. At some point between the birth of my youngest child and his second birthday, my wine drinking ramped up. I seemed to have it all together — I was “high functioning,” you could say — but eventually I couldn’t even fool myself. The “edge” I continued to take off every evening got bigger and bigger until wine wouldn’t even touch it.


Parents Sober Mom Squad offers alternative to mommy wine culture

I spent the first day of 2017 horribly hungover and never had another drink. Five years later, I’m going into this year’s holiday season booze-free. But that doesn’t mean it was easy.

Early on in my recovery journey, someone compared giving up alcohol to grieving a death: You had to get through the grief of every season. For me, that was very accurate. As I emerged on the other side of the “pink cloud” — the soft, cushy part of early sobriety where everyone is happy for you and you feel strong and full of resolve — I realized that the world around me would continue boozing it up even if I wasn’t. I felt very much on my own.

How to survive the holidays

Emily Lynn Paulson gave up drinking five years ago, but she remembers the struggle around the holidays. Courtesy of Emily Lynn Paulson

When the next holiday season rolled around, on the eve of my one year of sobriety, I attended parties and carried on the way I had the previous year, minus the booze, which I wouldn’t recommend. Not drinking was still too new, and I found myself miserable and white-knuckling instead of actually enjoying anything. I had yet to get through that season of grief.

By the next Christmas, it was easier, and by the next, I had zero desire to drink — although I know not everyone’s experience will look like mine. But for me, I couldn’t imagine wanting to tarnish the holidays with another drunken episode — or a hangover.

Take a minute to scroll through—your brain will thank you.

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How to survive the holidays

In an ideal world, you’d escape to a yoga class, or slip into a warm bath to melt away your stress. But when that’s justnot doable, there are fortunately quicker ways to get zen, stat—like simply gazing at images that have the seemingly magical power to ease your mind. Below are five such photos and gifs that will deliver a moment of much-needed peace.

Green space

How to survive the holidays

Psychologists have found that city-dwellers who live near green spaces feel less mental distress. But you don’t need a park view to experience the soothing effects of nature. Research has also shown that photographs of greenery can do the trick: In a 2012 study conducted in waiting rooms at a Dutch hospital, patients who were exposed to either real plants or posters of plants experienced less stress, compared to people who saw neither.


The “woosh” of crashing waves is a popular sound on white noise machines—but the appearance of the ocean may be psychologically soothing on its own. Experts have speculated that the sea instills a sense of safety in part, because of the abundance of life-giving water, and its relatively smooth surface. As Michael Merzenich, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of California San Francisco, explained in an interview with the Santa Cruz Sentinel, “when [the ocean is] landmark-free, it’s naturally calming to us, much like closing your eyes is calming.”

Natural fractals

How to survive the holidays

Natural fractals—or repeating patterns that recur on finer and finer scales—can be found almost everywhere in nature: in shells, flowers, leaves, snowflakes, river deltas, even the veins of our bodies. The calming effect of fractals may have to do with our how brains have evolved to interpret them, says Richard Taylor, PhD, director of the Materials Science Institute at the University of Oregon. “The idea is that, through evolution, our visual system has developed to efficiently process the visual patterns of fractals that are prevalent in nature,” he explained in an email to Health. “This increased efficiency results in the observer becoming relaxed.”

Man-made fractals

How to survive the holidays

Fractal designs seem to work on our brains in a similar way, though they are different from fractals found in nature. “Most artificial fractals belong to a family called exact fractals because the patterns repeat exactly,” says Taylor. Architecture based on fractal geometry can have a mesmerizing effect, like the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan in Iran, above.

The color blue

It turns out “feeling blue” may not be the best choice of words. Studies have found that the cool hue actually tends to have a good psychological impact. For example, in one study, when 98 college students were asked about the associations they have with various colors, blue elicited a high number of positive emotional responses, such as feelings of calmness, happiness, peace, hope, and comfort, and a low number of negative responses, like sadness and depression. What’s more, color researcher Nancy J. Stone, PhD, a professor in the department of psychological science at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, has found that people doing challenging tasks were less anxious after they saw the soothing hue. So take a minute to soak it up, before you go back to the 1,001 things on your to-do list.

The following articles offer holiday survival tips that can help make your life easier as a divorced single parent. Get ideas on how to manage your stress, your children, and your money, as well as how to avoid some of the co-parenting hassles that may come up.

Dealing With Divorce During Thanksgiving – The first Turkey Day after your separation or divorce will probably feel a little weird. After all, this is a big day to gather the family around the dinner table, give thanks for all the good things in life, and either go shopping or sit down for a great football game. If you’re having trouble with how to make it a great celebration in spite of the changes, these suggestions can help.

Celebrating Birthdays After Divorce – Before your divorce or separation, making plans for your child’s birthday was pretty straight forward. But it can get complicated after your split. Keep reading for a fresh take on how to handle the situation.

Should You Have Separate Birthday Parties after Divorce? – Every parent wants to celebrate their child’s birthday in a special way. Here are some tips to help you decide whether to have separate birthday parties or just one.

Managing Holiday Stress – The holiday season is a stressful time for most people, but it can seem overwhelming when you’re a divorced parent. There’s the scheduling challenge of who will have the kids what days, as well as trying to keep them on an even keel during the hustle and bustle of the season. Find out how to contain the chaos and make life easier for your and the kids.

Parenting after Divorce: Christmas Style – Divorced parents have to face the uncomfortable reality of not spending every holiday with their children. Here are a few tips to make the holiday season easier – for you, your ex, and your kids.

Holiday Visitation Issues – A holiday visitation schedule makes life easier because it outlines where your children will spend the major holidays without the hassle of having to continually negotiate with your ex. Find out more about how to set up your schedule and what you can do when conflicts arise.

Your First Christmas After Divorce – It’s hard not to feel bittersweet during the holiday season, especially with all the decorations and festivities going on. There’s the nostalgia of lots of shared holidays with your ex (both good and bad) that can leave you feeling a little unsettled, on top of wondering which traditions to keep and which to let go. Here are a few tips to help you get a handle on your emotions so your first Christmas after your divorce is not quite so uncomfortable.

Handling Post Divorce Holidays – Suggestions for making the first holidays after divorce a little easier.

Surviving the Holidays after Divorce – The first few holidays after divorce can feel strange as you transition into life without your ex and the familiar traditions. When you find yourself getting overwhelmed and down, these tips can help.

Home Alone During The Holidays- One reality of being a divorced parent is that there will be some holidays when the kids won’t be with you. These tips can help you and your children cope with being apart.

Avoiding Gift-Giving Gripes – Every parent wants to get their kids something nice for Christmas. But what if you don’t have a lot of extra money and your ex acts like he’s Santa Claus? Here’s how to end the gift-giving competition so you can truly enjoy the holidays.

How Do I Afford Christmas? – Your paycheck is probably stretched to the limits thanks to your divorce. If you’re worried about how you’ll be able to afford Christmas this year, here are some holiday survival tips for making the season festive without breaking the bank.

Gift Ideas – Here are some great ideas to help you with your Christmas list if you’re finding yourself short on the extra cash for gift-giving this year.

How to survive the holidays

September 25, 2021

How to survive the holidays

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The advantages of camping holidays begin with adventure. A family can go wherever they want and camp there for as long as they have. From a camping base, a family can go for walks out into the wild and see nature in its true habitat.

Camping Holidays – Advantages and Disadvantages How to survive the holidays

They can also make their way over to huge lakes to fish or swim, and if they find an adventure park they can spend the day zip lining round the trees as fast as they can go, which is fun for everyone.

This is also where the disadvantages begin however because some people like the routine they have and won’t want it disturbed by living in a tent for a week or two.

Sometimes there are no shower facilities and people will need to use a solar shower, which isn’t a problem for most, but some people could feel self-conscious about their body when using one.

How to survive the holidays

Toilets are another big disadvantage if a campsite doesn’t have the facilities provided, as people will need to go and dig themselves a hole to use or use a communal one, which many consider being worse.

For others, the freedom of being in the outdoors outweighs all disadvantages relating to homely comforts such as showering and using the toilet.

They also enjoy not being able to use their mobile phones, as these are an invasion which can ruin a holiday if someone is using theirs constantly. Whilst camping, people will also be away from the thick smog of the city, something many consider to be unhealthy. The great outdoors has nothing but fresh air, and most people consider this a huge advantage of camping holidays.

To break it down to a list of the core advantages and disadvantages, this is what most people think of camping.

Camping Holiday AdvantagesHow to survive the holidays

  • Adventure
  • Seeing Wildlife
  • Clean Air
  • No Mobile Phones
  • No Internet
  • No Traffic
  • No Interruptions

Camping Holiday Disadvantages How to survive the holidays

  • No Toilet
  • No Shower
  • No Food Provided For You
  • Living In A Tent
  • Bugs
  • Little Or No Electricity
  • Nothing Much To Do If You’re Not Adventurous

In conclusion, the advantages and disadvantages of camping seem to be entirely based on opinion.

How to survive the holidays

What people need to realize is that camping can be great fun as long as everyone is involved in enjoying themselves, because once someone isn’t having fun, the trip is ruined.

If worst comes to worst, building a huge campfire and staying up late into the night is something everyone enjoys doing.

Emma Darling and her family have been on many camping holidays with both of her daughters, which is why she knows so much about them.

For her, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, but she really wanted to give people a breakdown in this article to help them decide.

She has written lists like this before for Dorothy and Theodore and found this type of article best for getting the points across to the reader on these subjects.

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Schools across the WHO European Region have closed or will soon close their doors for the summer. This means many families will pack their bags and head off on holiday – often driving to vacation destinations and frequently spending much of their time around water, whether on boats, swimming at beaches or playing in pools. While these activities can be a wonderful way to pass the summer holidays, they do come with risks.

Every year, 2200 children aged 5–14 die from road traffic injuries in the Region – the leading cause of death for this age group. More than 1400 children in this same age group die each year due to drowning. Adolescents and young adults are also at high risk: 18 500 people aged 15–29 are killed each year in road traffic crashes in the Region – the second leading cause of death. A further 4000 die due to drowning.

While not all of these tragic deaths occur during the school holidays, this is an especially important time for parents, caregivers and members of the community to be extra vigilant about safety.

Here are 10 different ways students and their parents can help keep their summer holidays safe.

Road safety

  1. When on a driving holiday, remember that driving faster does not guarantee arriving at your destination earlier. In fact, it significantly increases the risk of a crash, injury or death for you and your family. Your risk of these outcomes increases by 5% with every kilometre per hour that your speed increases. Posted speed limits are maximum legal limits; they are not a guide, recommendation or suggestion. Respect these limits and drive according to the road conditions to keep your family safe.
  2. Fatigue can impair a driver just as much as alcohol, drugs or medicines. When driving long distances, remember to take a break every 2 hours. Higher temperatures also increase drowsiness, so it is important to stay hydrated and ensure your vehicle is well ventilated.
  3. Child seats may take up extra room, but they are absolutely vital to ensuring children’s safety when travelling in a car. Always leave the space necessary to mount a proper child seat, appropriate for the child’s age and size.
  4. Never leave a child alone in the car on a hot day. Fatal dehydration can occur within a matter of minutes. A sleeping child or a young child in a seat with restraints will not be able to get out of the car on their own.
  5. Drivers may not be accustomed to seeing children out on the streets in their community during school hours. During the school holidays, they should be particularly aware of children at pedestrian crossings, riding bicycles, on scooters and so forth. When school resumes after summer, drivers should pay special attention to safety on the roads around schools and should always adhere to speed limits. Standard 30 kilometres per hour urban speed limits are not set arbitrarily; they reflect the maximum speed before pedestrians will face serious or fatal injuries on impact.

Water safety and drowning prevention

  • Follow these 3 key rules for safe swimming: Never swim alone, never swim after consuming alcohol, and always swim in recognized and safe swimming locations – preferably with lifeguard patrols and safety equipment present.
  • Young children can only be supervised by adults when swimming, not by older children who have their own interest in playing or can be easily distracted.
  • Effective adult supervision requires constant vigilance. If you are reading a book, responding to an email on your phone or engaged in other activities, you are not watching your children. A drowning tragedy can happen very quickly and even when adults are nearby.
  • Make sure to use personal flotation devices, particularly when boating or fishing on open water. Conditions can change quickly, and even experienced swimmers may find themselves in trouble. It is estimated that 85% of annual boating-related drownings could be prevented by using a personal flotation device.
  • Parents and caregivers should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – it can save a child’s life in a near-drowning situation. If you have a pool at home, isolation fencing is one of the most effective strategies to prevent young children from accessing the water unsupervised.
  • How to survive the holidays

    In the past few weeks our intercultural family has celebrated the Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival and Canadian Thanksgiving. We have also been invited by a close expat Muslim friend to celebrate Eid Al Adha with her family. Being a part of all these festivities in such a short period of time has not only been incredibly fun but has also got me thinking about how important it is to maintain your own traditions while living as an expat.

    The Core of Our Cultural Being

    Traditional celebrations are some of the core aspects of any culture. Whether it is a wedding, a harvest festival, a religious holiday, or a national observance, our celebrations are woven tightly into our overall cultural identity.

    When we move overseas, part of the excitement of living in a new culture is exploring and joining in the celebration of the local holidays and traditions of our adopted country. Some of these experiences will provide memories that will last a lifetime.

    Getting deep into the local culture is a fantastic way to adapt to your new home, but there are numerous reasons why maintaining our own cultural traditions when we move overseas is just as important.

    Stay Connected

    Celebrating your traditions helps keep you grounded in your own culture while adapting to a new one. This is especially important when going through some of the phases of culture shock that affect many of us in the first months after moving overseas. Celebrating one of your traditional holidays can brighten up your mood for weeks as you become absorbed in preparations for the event and the excitement of the day itself.

    Celebrating a special day can also help you connect with fellow compatriots in your area who can add to your mutual support group. When we hosted our recent Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, we invited a new colleague and his family who had just spent an exhausting couple of months going through the trials of getting settled into a new job, finding appropriate housing, and jumping through the usual bureaucratic hoops that accompany any move to a new country. They were extremely grateful for the chance to wind down, meet new friends and exchange tips on local life.

    How to survive the holidays

    Give Your Expat Kids Some Roots

    Celebrating your traditions is perhaps most important if you have expat kids growing up in another culture (the so-called 3 rd culture kids). It can help them keep one foot firmly rooted in their home culture, while also offering learning experiences that might not otherwise occur. As we were preparing for our Thanksgiving dinner, our seven year old daughter was quizzing me on the differences between the American and Canadian Thanksgiving, and why one was observed later in the year than the other. I don’t think this question would have arisen in her British curriculum school classroom!

    Share Your Culture

    Traditional celebrations are also an excellent opportunity for intercultural exchange and understanding. Both kids and adults learn about other cultures through these celebrations. For the Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival, our daughter invited all her friends over to parade through our neighbourhood holding lanterns and to eat moon cake back at our place. As our rather large group of parents and children wandered along the local roads, drivers stopped to watch, ask questions, and even take pictures.

    For our Thanksgiving dinner, we had two Americans, one German, one Burmese, and two New Zealanders in our midst. And when we went over to our Malaysian friend’s home to join her in celebrating Eid, there were many non-Muslims helping her celebrate this important day and, perhaps most importantly, helping her eat her amazing Malay cooking!

    Experience Something Unique

    Finally, observing your traditions while living overseas will give you some unique experiences that you will remember years later. I will never forget Christmas of my first year living in Vietnam 15 years ago. I had befriended some Europeans working for Medicines Sans Frontieres who invited me to go to the seaside with them for a few days over the holidays. On the way there they pointed under my seat to a box which they said held two turkeys. Where they found turkeys in the middle of the Mekong Delta I will never know! However, I will never forget cooking those turkeys over the BBQ (a rather unique experience in itself!), eating Christmas dinner overlooking the sea of Thailand with prawns, fish and all kinds of other delicacies, and afterwards gathering around the fire with music from a guitar and millions of stars twinkling overhead. Yes, all was well with the world.

    So next time you see one of your traditional holidays approaching on the calendar, start planning. Invite your friends, involve the kids, and create your own lasting memories.