So many things to little time to do it...

Christmas can be weeks away--or just days away--but it always seems that there is just a few more things to get done before the big day.

Holiday Stress

By Eva Kende (visit Eva's site by clicking here. A new window will open.)

The glossy "Gift Ideas" fliers are arriving, along with the special magazine issues urging you to decorate your home, elaborate recipes to prepare the perfect meal and endless shopping "musts" to help you spend your money.

As we get closer and closer to Christmas, the "to do" list seems to get longer and longer and the stress level builds until when Christmas actually arrives, you are too exhausted to enjoy or worse yet feel let down when the commercial hype of a perfect Christmas doesn't materialize. Is this what Christmas is all about? Of course not, but business would like to make you think so.

How to break the cycle?

  • Resolve to keep the holidays simple with a focus on family and friends and then do it.
  • Make a list of the presents you need to get and stick to it; no matter how enticing the glitzy store display or glossy advertising.
  • Do your shopping early in the season and resolve to stop when the list has been satisfied.
  • Quit when you are beginning to feel fatigued. Continue another day. Pushing yourself past your limit will make you feel stressed.
  • Allot time for the unexpected, like a dozen cookies for that school party or the Christmas concert that your favorite niece invites you to, with only 24 hours notice.
  • If you are planning a meal to entertain family and friends, work out the menu ahead of time. Keep it simple. Christmas is not the time to try a new recipe with a house-full of guests. Save it for a quiet dinner for 2 or 4 in February.
  • Allow yourself to alter and trim family traditions. Traditions are great, but we seem to add more and more each year, without giving up some that no longer apply or lost their meaning with changes in life style.

Last year I overheard a friend tell another: "Christmas comes whether you are ready or not!" -- She is right. Do whatever you can and what feels good and get plenty of rest, so that you can enjoy the most important thing, the warm glow of friends and family around you.

Happy Holidays!

And while you're at it, make sure your children send Santa a letter...each letter is an entry in the DiskUs Publishing Children's Christmas here to send Santa a letter and enter. (And remember, Santa answers his mail to your child/children.)

Getting ready for Christmas giving...

Here's a list of those you might tend to forget around Christmas time, but who are part of your daily life...

Gifts you might not think of giving...but would be welcome anyway!

Now, here's some pet tips from one of the elves' favorites!

by Libby McKinmer

Never give a puppy or a kitten for a Christmas or holiday gift. Instead, wrap up a feed bowl, collar and leash, some toys and a picture of the pet. Holidays are stressful with no time, too many people and no routine which is essential to fit a pet into your home. Many pets find themselves homeless a few weeks after the holidays, too, if the recipient wasn't really prepared for a pet.

A child safety gate in front of a Christmas tree in a corner - or a decorative little wooden fence around a free-standing tree can keep a dog or cat from getting too close and doing any damage.

For those of you with cats who may climb the tree or dogs that may jump up, hang some bells on the lower branches. You'll hear any attempted exploring and be able to avoid damage.

If you have gifts for Fluffy or Rover, don't wrap them and put them under the tree. Your pets have very good noses and may damage other presents trying to get to the ones that smell the best. The same thing goes for boxes of chocolates. Chocolate is toxic to dogs.

Tape down all light cords and put them where cats and dogs can't get to them to chew on them. A frayed cord is a fire hazard. And a pet can be electrocuted by chewing on an electrical cord that is plugged in.

The holidays are a stressful time for people and can be just as stressful for pets. Your routine changes, you are out more often and more visitors come to the house. Make sure your pet's meals and exercise times stay as consistent as possible. And take a few minutes extra to cuddle your pet and reassure him or her that everything is all right.

Holiday treat no-no's for your pet: chocolate, turkey bones, goose, chicken or duck bones, beef bones, too many high-fat, high-sugar cookies or alcoholic beverages of any kind.

Courtesy of Libby McKinmer, author of "Betrayed by Love." Visit Libby's website by clicking here.

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