10 great tips for happy, healthy, and safe holidays

  1. Count your blessings and let go of unrealistic expectations. During the holidays people tend to think about how they wish their lives were different in some way. Gratitude is an appreciation of your life right now and can help you avoid a case of the holiday blues.


  1. Ask each family member to make a “wish list” of holiday activities they want to do. Then have a family meeting to cut the wish list in half. Limiting activities and saying no to unwanted invitations will make the season less stressful.


  1. Use LED lights for decorating. They are shatterproof, shock resistant, and produce almost no heat, which reduces the risk for fires.


  1. If you use a ladder to hang lights or other decorations make sure it’s on firm ground and won’t hit any trees or electrical wires. Never stand above the third rung from the top of an extension ladder or on the shelf or back section of a stepladder. Move the ladder when needed and avoid overreaching.


  1. Consider an artificial tree if someone in your home has allergies or asthma. Real trees bring pollen and mold spores into the house. Clean artificial trees, decorations, and lights, since they collect dust and mold, which can trigger allergies. If you use artificial snow be sure to follow directions. It can irritate lungs if inhaled.


  1. Avoid placing the tree near a fireplace or heat vent to keep it from drying out and becoming a fire risk. Secure trees and other decorations so they can’t be pulled down by children or pets. One more tip: poinsettias can be toxic to pets and tinsel is another hazard, especially for cats since they are attracted by the shine.


  1. When you host a holiday party, serve alcohol in moderation, offer nonalcoholic beverages, and remind your guests to plan ahead and pick a designated driver.


  1. Have a meal or snack before you go shopping. Heading for the grocery store on an empty stomach can increase impulse buying and overspending.


  1. Defrost turkey and other meats in the refrigerator and use a meat thermometer to make sure they are thoroughly cooked. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours.
  2. If you give a bike, skateboard, or similar gift, make sure the recipient has a helmet or include one in the gift. Remember that any toy with parts small enough to fit inside the cardboard tube of a toilet paper roll poses a choking hazard. Toys with string, straps, or cords longer than seven inches pose a risk for strangulation.
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