Here's some other things to keep in mind during Christmas and New Years:
- If you drink, don't drive and vice versa. The most common 911 calls during the holidays revolve around drunk driving and alcohol-fueled domestic violence problems. Spending the night in jail, or worse, is not the way you want to remember the Christmas of '09.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going for the holidays. A good section of our country is buried under a treacherous pile of snow so take it easy getting to your destination (I don't have to tell you to have emergency supplies in your car in case you get stranded by the bad weather).
- Keep a good attitude and don't let people get to you. Sometimes relatives can only be tolerated for a short period of time which is why we only see them on the holidays. If you have a particularly bothersome clan, strive to keep a positive attitude no matter how bad you want to tell them where they can stuff the holiday turkey.
- If you are having a tough Christmas financially, and many people are this year, remember that money and extravagant gifts really aren't required in order to have a happy holiday. Kids remember unique and creative things much longer than they remember a sparse Christmas. Even if you have NO money, you can still have a fun Christmas. Put on a play with the whole family, make cookies for an elderly neighbor or the local police/firefighters/ER staff who will be working over the holiday, start a new tradition that requires creativity not cash, or volunteer at a homeless mission and make someone else's holiday brighter.
- If you have lost a loved one recently, you have my condolences. The holidays are tough when loved ones are missing from our lives.
- If you are alone/sad/otherwise miserable around the holidays, remember there are always people with stories much worse than yours. The way to take your mind off of this is to help someone else. Leave a huge tip for the waitress who has to work all day on Christmas, help the homeless, walk through your city and randomly give out $20 or $100 bills.
- Finally, stay safe. The holidays bring about situations that are uncommon and thus follow uncommon problems that we often forget about. If the power goes out, DON'T bring the barbecue grill inside to finish cooking the turkey. Of course be careful if you are deep frying a turkey for the holiday. Keep and eye on kids and pets if they are in a new environment (ie: if your kids are rarely at the grandparents house, be sure to ask that medications, firearms, and other things they can get into are secured. The same is true if you are hosting the family party and are having lots of little people over and your house isn't kid-proofed).