Maspeth living room is transformed into a Thanksgiving
dining room that can seat visiting family. Tribune
photo By Brian M. Rafferty
For many of us, the holidays are a time to throw caution to the wind and ignore a year's worth of good eating habits and exercise - not to mention the overindulgence in alcohol and other party favorites.
Celebrating the holidays also means keeping safe and healthy. Don't let a six-week span bring you six months of headache, six years of debt or even six minutes of worry. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and safe during the holiday season.
Tips for Diabetics
Winter is a season of holiday celebrations, football play-offs, and other occasions when family and friends get together over meals and snacks. For people with type 2 diabetes, it can be especially challenging to stick to a meal plan.
Follow these tips from the National Diabetes Education Program to help you eat healthy during gatherings throughout the winter season:
Eat a healthy snack: Eating a healthy snack prior to leaving home can prevent overeating at the party.
Plan ahead: Check out the party food options before you begin eating, and make a mental note of what and how much you will eat. Your food choices should fit into your meal plan.
Bring a dish: Share your healthy dish with family and friends.
Move away from the buffet: Fix your plate, and then step away from a table of finger foods to avoid grazing while chatting.
Savor the flavor: Eating slowly reduces your chances of overeating.
Drink H2O: Water is a healthy, no-calorie beverage. Drink plenty of it.
Trim it down: Eat smaller portions of food. Trim off extra skin and fat from meat.
How To Afford It All
As the holidays and the biggest shopping day of the year approaches, Commerce Bank offers shoppers smart ways to shop this holiday season.
"Talking about money is the best road to fiscal fitness," said Fred Graziano, regional banking president, Commerce Bank. "Whatever your current financial situation, planning and saving are key to a happy holiday season and beyond."
Create a budget and stick to it. Decide how much you can realistically afford to spend on all your holiday shopping. Don't forget to account for gift accessories. Gift wrap, bows, cards, ribbon and gift bags add up fast.
Make a list of the people you want to get gifts for and what gift ideas you have in mind for each. Also, note your spending limit for each person, keeping within your budget.
Shop early and avoid shopping in the evenings and weekends when parking lots and store aisles are jammed and stress levels are high.
If you're unsure about what to get someone, get a gift card. More than two-thirds of consumers polled said that they plan on purchasing at least one gift card this holiday season and more than half said they would like to receive a gift card this year.
The holiday season is a special time of year filled with gatherings and decorations. Unfortunately, it is also a time when parents overlook the increased dangers their young children face. The Electrical Safety Foundation International urges parents to keep their toddlers safe by recognizing and removing the additional shock and fire hazards that the winter months bring.
According to the US Fire Administration, young children are twice as likely to die in a home fire as the rest of the population. In addition, the number of children injured and killed by fires more than doubles during the holiday season.
Fortunately, parents can prevent these tragedies before they happen. Decorations and holiday lights can beckon a child to grab hold for a closer look - or worse, if they end up in an infant's mouth. To prevent this, avoid putting tree lights, ornaments, and other small "mouth-size" decorations near the ground or on the lower limbs of a Christmas tree, where they can easily be reached by a child.
ESFI also recommends the following tips for keeping children safe this holiday season:
Never leave a child unsupervised while cooking or when an electric or gas stove is within reach. Unattended cooking is one of the leading causes of home fires during the holidays.
To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don't give young children a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
Don't use space heaters in rooms where children are unsupervised. Children may stick their fingers or other objects through the protective guards, causing burns or shock.
The holiday season is a great time to visit family, but few adult gatherings are alcohol-free. This means that more people may be driving impaired than other times of the year.
A study of information from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis shows the days immediately preceding Christmas are among the top deadliest vehicle fatality days of the year. The Thanksgiving holidays supply another surge upward in traffic deaths.
"You never want to lose a family member to an accident, but losing one around a family holiday just makes the pain worse," said Ryan Thorpe, Director of Admissions at Narconon Arrowhead, one of the country's leading drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers. "Any family member who can't make rational choices when it comes to alcohol use needs immediate help to prevent such disasters."