By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lighten the season
Placeholder Image
Driving around the different communities in the 12th Senate District, I enjoy seeing the diversity of Christmas cheer. From decorations on light posts and lighted angels on buildings to the neighboring houses lit with colorful lights and holiday music playing in our local retail stores, Christmas is officially here. You can't help but to notice all the excitement of this season with volunteers ringing bells outside your favorite stores and the shopping mall Santas listening to children's wish lists and giving out candy canes.

Whether you and your family celebrate Christmas, Chanukkah, Kwanza or another special holiday, this can be a time of great excitement, but it can also be a very stressful time. Long lines and hard to find parking are two frustrations that can cause arguments amongst shoppers. The simple must do's like sending Christmas cards, decorating your tree and wrapping presents can all build stress.

Don't forget to schedule time for you in your schedule to de-stress. Exercise can be a great way to deal with your stress, and help keep the holiday pounds off your waist. Or, take some time to do something you enjoy such as getting a massage or calling a friend to have a cup of coffee. If you forget to take care of you, it can be an unhealthy, gloomy holiday season.

Despite the joy of the season, each of us must be careful to not fall victim to holiday crime. I know how concentrating on the holidays can make us forget to take certain precautions. In fact, last Christmas, one of my staff members stopped to eat after Christmas shopping, and didn't think about the car loaded with gifts. However, when the staff member finished dinner, not only were all of the gifts gone, so was the vehicle. This just shows that crime just doesn't stop because of the holiday season.

I encourage you to take extra precautions during the holidays. Don't leave packages in your car, even in the trunk if you can help it. If you live near where you are shopping, take the time to go home and unload your car, before starting your shopping again. Keep an eye on your wallet or purse as you shop. Be careful not to set it down as you look at a potential gift. You may not see it, but someone may be watching you for an opportunity to take your money right under your nose. And, if you have a house alarm, don't relax. Make sure you set the alarm, when you are away or home at night. Just the idea of presents under the tree, could make your house vulnerable to a theft. Take proactive steps not to be an easy target this Christmas.

As we celebrate this season, remember there are those in our communities who are homeless or not as fortunate as you and your family. If you can help another family by purchasing a meal or even a tree, contact your local service organizations to see where you can give. How about participating in a local coat drive to give warmth to someone who can't afford one? If you don't have the financials to donate to another family or an organization, consider volunteering to serve a meal at your local homeless shelter. There are so many things that each of us can do to make a difference in the lives of others.

As you celebrate with your friends and family, please remember to drink responsibly and designate a sober driver or call for a ride. Please don't get on the road in a condition that could harm you or others on the road. On behalf of my family and my staff, I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.