Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Eve traditions around the world

Tradition is at the heart of Christmas. Whether your tradition is giving ornaments as gifts, enjoying hot cocoa by the fire, or leaving milk and cookies for Santa, it’s an important part of the fun of Christmas.  Check out some Christmas Eve traditions from around the world.

Many families with children end Christmas Eve by hanging up Christmas stockings. Children hope that Father Christmas or Santa Claus, will visit the house during the night. He enters homes by climbing down the chimney and, if he thinks that the children have been well-behaved all year, fills the stockings with presents, gifts and sweets.

Christmas Eve (Heiliger Abend) is celebrated in Germany on December 24. It is the last day of Advent and the start of the Christmas season. Many people spend the afternoon and evening decorating Christmas trees, attending church services, eating traditional dishes and opening Christmas presents.

A tradition that dates back centuries, in Norway, on Christmas Eve, everyone hides their brooms. It’s said they’re hid to ensure witches and evil spirits wouldn’t find them to ride on.

It may sound more like Halloween than Christmas, but for Christmas Eve in Austria, St. Nicholas’ evil partner Krampus comes out to scare the kids! The “beast” is said to frighten the little ones who weren’t on Santa’s nice list.

Christmas Eve is very important in the Philippines. Many people stay awake all night into Christmas day! During Christmas Eve evening, Christians go to church to hear the last 'simbang gabi' or the Christmas Eve mass. This is followed by a midnight feast, called Noche Buena.


Although it is not an official holiday the Japanese tend to celebrate Christmas, especially in a commercial way. They celebrate Christmas Eve by eating a 'Christmas Cake' which the father of the family purchases on his way home from work. In recent years, thanks to the marketing prowess of the folks at Kentucky Fried Chicken, it’s now a tradition to enjoy a feast of K.F.C. for dinner with your loved ones.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Keep up with the fun - Energy tips

Keep up with the fun - Energy tips

December is full of fun filled days! Whether you’re heading to the ice skating rink for some festive fun, running around to find the perfect gift, or you’re playing on your family’s flag football team on Christmas Eve, you need to be as as energized as possible.

Here are a few tips we’ve found that help with keeping energy levels high, so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!

Staying hydrated is imperative to staying energized. Make sure to swap eggnog for water as much as possible. If you’re having alcohol to celebrate the fun, try drinking a glass of water after every alcoholic drink to balance out hydration levels.

There are so many sweets and treats to snack on during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean we should forget about the good stuff! You can enjoy some indulgences, but keep nibbling on fresh fruits and raw vegetables whenever you can.

3.Vitamin D
During the colder months, we tend to stay indoors more. Make sure your Vitamins D levels stay high even when you’re not getting some sunshine. Try taking an extra supplement during these colder months to keep you wake and alert.

Stay energized and have fun this holiday season!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Greener Gift Giving

Greener Gift Giving
“Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things”
My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music

When it comes to giving gifts, expensive wrapping paper and glittering trimmings aren’t always necessary. Sometimes eco-friendly options can be even more fun!

1. Newspaper, Magazines and Brown Paper
Don’t throw out old newspapers and magazines, they can make for some very interesting gift wrapping. Black and white print will give a vintage feel to the package. Brown paper too can look
attractive especially if tied with colorful twine.

2 .Fabric
Getting rid of that old shirt, or silk scarf? Use the fabric to wrap your gifts – it’s different, very personal and very eco-friendly!

3. Gift Cards

No need to purchase gift tags. If you saved greeting cards from the previous it’s super easy to cut the up for gift tags? They’re already festive, and they look just as good. You can even use them to brighten up the brown paper packaging!

4. Old ties and bows

Try saving string, yarn, ribbon and bows from your gifts for the next season! This will cut back on buying, and be more eco-friendly! Plus, if you start a chain of recycling with your family you’ll always have plenty of trimmings to choose from.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Giving back during the holidays

Ah, the holidays. They’re filled with warmth, love, and cheer…for most of us.

But, as many as 1.6 million individuals in the United States are homeless, and just because it’s the
holiday season, that doesn’t change.  

Let’s start thinking about how we can give back this holiday season to help those less fortunate
than ourselves.

1. Volunteer. Local homeless shelters, churches and soup kitchens need all the help they can get.

2. Donate. Donate clothes, food, toys, and everyday basic necessities to your local shelters.

3. Give. Put together as many emergency packages as you can with things like:
socks, gloves, scarves, non-perishable food items, water, blankets, as much as you can.
Go around your local neighborhood and hand the packages out to those less fortunate in the area.

Let’s work together to give back to our local communities this season.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Preventing Seasonal Affective Disorder

With the winter season upon us seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is on the rise.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mood disorder where those who suffer from it, experience depressive symptoms during certain seasons, particularly winter when the weather is colder and the days are short.

Symptoms of SAD often include:
·       Sad moods
·       Low interest in hobbies
·       Lack of motivation
·       Lack of energy
·       Loss of libido

How to prevent SAD
Unfortunately, preventing SAD is virtually impossible, but there are a number of things that can work to boost your mood and energy:
·       Take a Vitamin D supplement to replenish the Vitamin D you may be lacking from the sun.
·       Walk, run or ride – The rhythmic physical exertion is good for you—natural endorphins will help you feel a bit better.
·       Sweat it out. Head to the sauna, or even take a hot shower to increase blood flow to the brain.
·       Eat fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants.
·       Talk to someone.

If you’re struggling with SAD, it’s not “weird,” or “out of the norm.” Try your best to speak with someone, whether it’s a family member, loved one or a professional. Don’t let these winter blues get you down!