Have you ever sat down with your family and tried to write down your holiday traditions? Did these begin with your grandparents or even before them? Some traditions are as simple as what foods you eat on Christmas while other traditions came to us from other countries or started with a particular event that was so well-received that everyone wanted to repeat the experience annually.
In our family, some traditions changed or were replaced as our children became adults, married and had their own families. But the really important traditions remain the same, even though we may do them in another city, and the recipes, faces and churches may be somewhat different. But one thing is always the same — children love to hear the stories about these traditions and about how their parents and grandparents enjoyed past holiday seasons.
Because I told my children that Santa would come as long as they believed, they always make sure that I hear them say they still believe in Santa every year. So he continues to visit and leave stuffed stockings for my adult children. I can just see myself at 100 years old, hobbling around with multiple plastic bags to work on Christmas stockings.
In addition to making Christmas memories, December is the time to think about and plan for the coming year. It’s a time when we can reflect on changes we want or need to make and resolve to accomplish our goals. The top 10 most common New Year’s resolutions are:
1. Lose weight
2. Stop smoking
3. Stick to a budget
4. Save or earn more money
5. Find a better job
6. Become more organized
7. Exercise more
8. Be more patient at work or with others
9. Eat better
10. Become a better person
There is nothing wrong with the above resolutions; you could adopt them for 2011, but you might choose some of the selections below instead. You don’t have to choose 10; choose one or two and make them happen.
According to one survey of 12,000 people — about 30 percent of those making resolutions — say they don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions through February. And only about one in five actually stays on track for six months or more. Why is it that New Year’s resolutions are so often abandoned?
Some goals may obviously be too lofty while others may not be very realistic. Could it be that we just don’t want some resolutions bad enough? Most of the time, however, it is because the goal does not have an action plan. So in 2011, plan to succeed with your resolutions. Think about what you really want (or need) and go after it! Make yearly resolutions each December a tradition. Happy New Year!Reduce stress and enjoy life more: Listen to your body and when it says "enough," pay attention. Remember, "All things in moderation." Too much of anything is usually not healthy. Find something to be thankful for. Do at least one fun (healthy) thing a day. Also, as often as possible, get a good night’s sleep. Sufficient sleep has a powerful affect on emotional health and well-being. Work at getting organized: This helps limit stress and can make daily routines require less time, creating more time for enjoyable hobbies and physical activities. Find ways to help your community or a favorite charity: volunteer your time and talents. Challenge your mind by going back to school or learning something new. You can teach an old dog new tricks, and an interesting hobby or vocation may be just around the bend. Quit or lower your alcohol drinking levels. If you smoke, stop! It’s bad for you and everyone around you.Feel better by eating properly: Load up on colorful vegetables and fruit. Lower your fat intake, caffeine, sugar and salt. Some nutritionist use the 90/10 rule, which advises people that if they eat healthy 90 percent of the time, then you can cut yourself some slack and eat treats 10 percent of the time. Sometimes it is a real eye-opener to keep up with what you eat in a day. We often don’t realize how much junk food we ingest.Lose weight if you are overweight: 55 percent of American adults are overweight, making weight loss one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight-loss program. Celebrate small victories and reward yourself with items other than food.Make physical fitness a priority: Regular exercise has more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week but even getting regular exercise in small increments provides significant heart benefits. Changes in the method of workout (an aerobic dance class instead of walking) or walking outside can help alleviate some of the tedium of regular exercise.Make time for and enjoy family and friends: Spend more time around people who provide love, laughter and support. It will be reflected in your attitude. Laughter really is the best medicine so put as much humor in your life as possible.