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Happy Holidays?
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It seems that every where you go, whether it’s the grocery store, a friend’s house, or the post office, you hear the greeting, “Happy Holidays!” But for many, the holidays are anything but happy.

There are many factors that can trigger the holiday blues: financial stress, the loss of a loved one, being far from family and friends, having unrealistic expectations, and an over-loaded schedule are just a few.

While some people try to hide their pain with alcohol, partying, or being reclusive, there are some better things you can do that might help you through this holiday season. The key is to take an active approach and do something—even though you may not feel like it.

Here are some ideas:

1. Set realistic goals for yourself. You don’t need to be super-human
2. Make a list. Then spread tasks out on a calendar so that you’re all done by Christmas Eve
3.Delegate responsibilities. It’s more fun anyway if the whole family is involved
4. Have realistic expectations for your spouse or children. They may not say or do just what you want or expect, and may need some grace from you!
5. Set a realistic budget that doesn’t put you in debt. With the economic crunch happening, find old fashioned, inexpensive ways to celebrate and go easy on the gifts
6. Make memories. Presents aren’t memories. Doing things together is what memories are made of. Decorate cookies, go caroling, visit sick or lonely people, or volunteer together in your community
7. Live in the present rather than in the past. This is now, and this Christmas will come only once
8. Remember those who are not with you this Christmas. Remember them with happiness, because that’s what they would want you to do
9.Spend time with family, friends, or volunteer at your church or local shelter. Choose companionship rather than loneliness, which can add to your sadness
10. Reconcile when possible. If you need to work things out with a family member or friend, now is a good time to make the effort
11. Get your sleep, eat healthfully, and don’t forget to exercise. These are things you can do for you!
12. Decorate your house. It doesn’t have to look fancy, just warm and inviting. And don’t forget to play Christmas music! It has a way of bringing joy
13. Seek help if your blues turn to a heavy depression. Go discuss things with a doctor or counselor

Remember the reason for this season. You have been given a gift. And that gift—Jesus--will someday take you to Heaven where every day will be full of joy. When you consider the great love and sacrifice behind this gift—as well as the promise it brings—I hope you have a Happy Holiday.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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