Holiday Celebrations: Spread joy and cheer throughout Northern New York

WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES FILE PHOTO
A float for the Lost Navigator bar in Clayton makes its way down Riverside Drive during the Clayton Christmas Parade in 2016.

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Cookies Take the Cake: Annual amateur cookie competition a sweet treat

AMANDA MORRISON / NNY LIVING
Kelly E. Reinhardt hosts an annual cookie cook-off for the holidays at her Sackets Harbor home.

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In New York, Watertown has best chance of white Christmas

JUSTIN SORENSEN / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES Sisters Britni Mays, 12 and Samantha Mays, 9, roll a snowball Thursday on Prospect Street in Adams.

JUSTIN SORENSEN / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
Sisters Britni Mays, 12 and Samantha Mays, 9, roll a snowball Thursday on Prospect Street in Adams.

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Make love a wonderful part of all your holiday traditions

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Unchain your holiday season: Give the gifts of community craft, north country artisans

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BY: HOLLY C. BONAME

As the holidays draw near, finding the perfect gift can be a stressful and daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. Thinking outside of the box stores and looking locally can ease this stress and even produce a custom gift for each person on your holiday shopping list.

Buying locally not only allows for you to find the perfectly customized gift for your loved ones it also supports your area small businesses, keeping Northern New York communities bustling with business and economic growth.

“Every purchase made locally results in funds going back into our economy,” said Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber executive director Kylie Peck. “The more we shop locally the more effect we have on those that are supporting local programs, non-profits and causes that mean the most to us”

Throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties, many small businesses thrive due to support from local residents.

While shops along the St. Lawrence River depend on tourism during the summer months, they still remain open during the off-season; for small businesses in development it is about their passion for the products which they strive to share with their neighbors and friends.

“Of course it is very gratifying when people use and buy my products,” said Laura Cerow, owner and creator of St. Larry’s organic oils, lotions and potions, “Then they share with me how much they love them. But the most rewarding part is when someone finds relief of some kind from a product, that they had not been able to find elsewhere.  I also formulate for individual needs and I really enjoy that aspect as well.”

It is that personal relationship with local business owners that makes shopping locally a benefit to the consumer.

“We always encourage people to shop locally when they can. We are so fortunate in the greater Watertown area to be surrounded by quaint towns that offer unique shopping experiences. During the holiday season, the chamber acts as a neighborhood champion for the Small Business Saturday movement. For many year’s we have assisted with increasing awareness of this great program,” Mrs. Peck said.

Not only does shopping for the holidays within your local communities benefit the economy, but it helps the consumer save money as well. By shopping locally, you are saving on the cost of shipping and handling. Many online shops claim to provide free shipping during the holidays, but you are paying a higher price for that retail item.

Shopping during the holidays also should be a fun experience shared with friends and family. While browsing the internet from the comfort of home can be relaxing, having personal experiences and laughs while finding the perfect holiday gift can be exciting and create lasting memories.

Remember, your family and friends are one of a kind. Shopping locally means you can choose unique and one-of-a-kind gifts that are as special as the recipient.

NNY Living encourages you to focus your holiday shopping at many of the region’s small businesses this holiday season by following our non-chain holiday shopping guide below Holly’s Holiday Pick.

Holly’s holiday pick

gift-box-image-1With the holidays just around the corner it’s easy to forget to care for your personal health and wellness. Becoming overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of shopping, hosting guests and family and preparing the big holiday meal can leave one feeling drained.

But you don’t have to let your personal well-being fall to the wayside by simply taking a few minutes to eat well and treat your body right. Three small business owners along the St. Lawrence River want to ensure that you do just that. Laura Cerow, owner of St. Larry’s, Monica Behan, owner of Modicum Skin Care, and Liz Price-Kellogg along with Kristen Taylor, creators of LIVE YUM, have developed the “Gratitude Goddess Holiday Gift Box” to assist with wellness during the holiday season.

Each gift box includes gratitude-inspiring products handcrafted along the St. Lawrence River from the local businesswomen.

LIVE YUM

A signed copy of “For the Love of Food and Yoga: A Celebration of Mindful Eating and Being,” by Liz Price-Kellogg and  Kristen Taylor. Plus, three new LIVE Yum recipes.

LARRY’S

Two organic essential oils from St. Larry’s, helmed by the St. Lawrence River’s remarkable Laura Cerow, that may be used in recipes from the For the Love of Food and Yoga inspirational cookbook.

MODICUM SKIN CARE

A travel size of the coveted Essential Serum from Murray Isle’s Monica Behan, owner of Modicum Skin Care! A 2015 Beauty Nominee for Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards, Modicum Skin Care nutrient system combats a multitude of skin care issues from aging to acne.

Call 523-0627 to purchase your holiday “Gratitude Goddess Holiday Gift Box” or to learn more. Each gift box is $50 to $65 value and includes sales tax. LIVE YUM will also mail your gift box to any mailing address with an enclosed LIVE YUM gift card (add $10 — flat rate for shipping). Give the gift of the river, health, wellness and gratitude this holiday season.

 

Jefferson County

Editor’s note: The following list of non-chain stores is not intended as an all-inclusive shopping directory.

Country Designs

320 Dodge Ave., Sackets Harbor

778-5633

St. Lawrence Pottery

41468 state Route 12, Clayton

686-4252

stlawrencepottery.com

The Lake Ontario Gift Shop

12279 state Route 12E, Chaumont

(315) 300-4014

The Natural Basket

44144 state Route 3, Natural Bridge

644-4821

Agape Shoppe

136 Court St., Watertown

788-7470

The 1000 Islands Cruet

226 James St., Clayton

767-1064

1000 Islands River Rat Cheese

242 James St., Clayton

686-2480 or 1- (800) 752-1341

riverratcheese.net

Treasure Island Jewelers

40 James St., Alexandria Bay

482-2294

treasureislands.net

Karla’s Christmas Shoppe

500 Riverside Drive, Clayton

686-1906

Captain Spicer’s Gallery

40467 state Route 12, Clayton

686-3419

Freighters of Clayton

534 Riverside Drive, Clayton

703-0166

St. Larry’s

38234 Windward Cliffs, Clayton

408-1174

stlarrysriver@gmail.com

stlarrys.com

Live Yum

Liz Price-Kellogg and

Kristen Taylor, Clayton

775-7115 or 523-0627

namaste@liveyum.com

liveyum.com

Modicum

Clayton / 1000 Islands

modicumskincare@gmail.com

modicumskincare.com

St. Lawrence County

Phil and Jackie’s

69 Main St., Massena

philandjackies.com

Nature’s Storehouse

21 Main St., Canton

386-3740

natures-storehouse.com

Seasons Specialty Gifts

27 W. Orvis St., Massena

764-7671

seasons-gifts.com

Misty Hollow

22 Market St., Potsdam

265-1660

mistyhollowcraftsandhobbies.com

St. Lawrence County Arts Council

41 Elm St., Room 231, Potsdam

(Downtown Snell Hall, 2nd Floor)

265-6860

slcartscouncil.org

Brick & Mortar Music

15 Market St., Potsdam

274-9311

bandmm.com

Adirondack Fragrance & Flavor Farm

1551 Highway 72, Potsdam

265-1776

adkfragrancefarm.com

Argent’s Jewelry and Coin Shop

32 Market St., Potsdam

265-6389

Canton-Potsdam Gift Shop

50 Leroy St., Canton

261-5415

Em Bears

P.O. Box 402, Hannawa Falls

268-1227

embears.com

Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) store

53 E. Main St., Canton

386-4289

tauny,org

Maple Run Emporiums Inc.

49 Market St., Potsdam

274-0102

MapleRunEmporiums.com

Lewis County

Nolts Country Store

7189 state Route 812, Lowville

377-3077

Marguerite’s Cranberry Emporium

7614 N. State St., Lowville

376-4411

mcegifts.com

Cozy Country Corner

7608 North State St., Lowville

376-4004

cozycountrycorner.lightspeedwebstore.com

Bonaparte Candle & Gifts

7790 State Route 3, Harrisville

543-7535

The Blue Bird Country Store

8311 state Route 26, Lowville

376-2473

bluebirdcandle.com

Amish Connection

9882 state Route 12, Copenhagen

688-2569

amishconnectionllc.com

Croghan Candy Kitchen

9740 state Route 812, Croghan

346-1591

A few tips to stay in the holiday spirit this season

Michelle Graham

Michelle Graham

Alas, the holiday season is upon us, the most wonderful time of the year. Or is it? If you listen to television ads isn’t that what they claim? For some it’s a time of great stress and worry and it’s not the most wonderful time of year. But have no fear as a little connection to your mind, body and spirit may just help you survive the chaos of the season. It’s is a time to spread joy to others and bring joy and inner peace to yourself, as well.


Start the season off by being kind to yourself. Plan to have fun and a lot of it. Get together with friends and actually make time to celebrate the season and maybe even find time for a holiday drink, playing board games or just getting together for a wonderful holiday lunch and visit. A little holiday visit with good friends can truly make the holiday season that much more special.

Exercise and watch your waist line. Not only will exercise help keep the holiday pounds off, but it can actually help decrease stress. Eating well can also take you into January with no weight gain. Remember the average person gains 5 to 7 pounds through holiday season. Be mindful through the season and your body will be so grateful.

Start purchasing holiday gifts early. Better yet, make some of your gifts. You can find many great ideas on Pinterest. We all know the best gifts are homemade and come from the heart.

Take a time out. Practice peace of mind. Perhaps morning meditation or yoga can set your path for a peaceful day. Better yet, take some time to be lazy and read a good book or just find a moment of quiet.

Get organized in work and play. Don’t wait until the last minute to make a deadline or to check off all your holiday “to-do lists” done. Planning is a significant key to success; don’t wait until tomorrow to get things done today.

Bring joy to others. Visit an old friend or relative. Really visit, be present and put your phone or tablet away. Sometimes we are so connected to everyone else that we lose sight of what is right in front of us. Talk, visit and simply live in the moment.

Volunteer your time and talents. Where can you spread joy this holiday season? Wrap presents at the mall, shop for a shut-in or spend some time helping out at Watertown Urban Mission or other community organizations that need help. Volunteering is wonderful and truly makes you and others feel amazing.

Make a donation small or large to a worthy organization. Every little bit helps. Never underestimate the value of your monetary gift. Surprise the person behind you at the drive-through and pay for their order. Don’t walk by a Salvation Army Kettle without a little donation. My favorite is to give a gift card to a friend or co-worker without signing your name.

Be patient with others. Our lives are busy and rushed and we are not always as patient as we should be. Patience truly is a virtue. Stop rushing and enjoy these beautiful holiday moments. Relax and you will get through the line in a store or get to your destination. Smile along the way as it makes everyone feel better.

Practice the simple act of kindness in this crazy, ruthless world in all that you do. Everyone wants to react; take time to pause and just be kind. Just laugh when life throws you a curve ball. We truly need to laugh at life a little longer a little harder. Don’t be so serious. Relax and enjoy every single holiday moment and besides practicing kindness never hurt anyone. Don’t let the holiday season stress you out. Practice kindness in all things for yourself and others. Your mind, body and spirit will certainly thank you.

I wish you and your families a very happy holiday season and the healthiest of years ahead in 2017. Seize the opportunity to start anew and make it your best year yet.

5 Things Friday- December 2

Holiday Illuminations

1. Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

When: 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday
Where: Public Square, Downtown Watertown
What: 6:30 p.m. – Musical Performance by General Brown 6th grade Chorus, Directed By Lindsey Davis K-6 Vocal Music Teacher; 6:45 p.m. – Announcement of Downtown Decorating Contest Winners; 6:45 p.m. – Musical Performance by the Northern Blend Chorus, Directed by Mary Ann Wert and Katie Taylor; 7:00 p.m. – Christmas Parade organized by Stanley Zaremba and sponsored by Benefit Services Group; 7:45 p.m. – Tree Lighting Ceremony and Count Down; 7:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. Visit with Santa at the Gazebo in Public Square Park. Sponsored by the Downtown Business Association; 7:45 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. – Music and Light Display every 30 minutes featuring thousands of LED lights that are synchronized to a variety of music. Hot chocolate, coffee and mulled cider provided free of charge courtesy of the Downtown Business Association.
Cost: Free
Info: publicsquare.com/tree.html

Friday / Watertown

2. 54th Annual Clayton Christmas Parade and Fireworks

When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Downtown Clayton
What: Enjoy a “A Patriotic Christmas” themed parade of floats lit with lights. Following the parade, a fireworks display will take place over the St. Lawrence River.
Cost: Free
INFO
: 1000islands-clayton.com

Saturday / Clayton

3. Parish Christmas Tree Lighting

When: 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Veteran’s Park
What: Tree lighting ceremony and celebration. Crafts, children’s games, stories, Santa and more.
Cost: Free
INFO: Kathy Allardice, 278-6632

Saturday / Parish

4. Light Up Pulaski

When: 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Pulaski Historical Society, 3428 Maple Ave.
What: Mr. and Mrs. Clause will attend. Music, reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” punch and cookies.
Cost: Free
INFO: 268-4650

Sunday / Pulaski

5. Christmas Caroling and Christmas Tree Lighting

When: 4:15 to 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Whitton Place, 7320 E. Main St.
What: Christmas Caroling and Christmas Tree Lighting. Christmas caroling at 4:15 p.m.; High Falls Apartments, 4061 Cherry St., 5 p.m.; caroling under the village Christmas tree, 5:30 p.m.; lighting of the tree, 5:45 p.m.; Santa arrives, 6 p.m. Refreshments, visits with Santa at St. John’s Church, 5838 McAlpine St.
Cost: Free
INFO: N/A

Sunday / Lyons Falls

Celebrate the Holidays

1. 8th annual Christmas Masquerade Ball

When: 5 p.m. Friday
Where: Bonnie Castle Resort, 31 Holland St.
What: The community is invited to the festive celebration and fundraiser that features live music by Fred & the Ed’s, a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres and silent and live auction items from local businesses. A photo booth will be provided by Bova Photography to capture the evening. Formal wear is required and masquerade masks for $5 are available at the door.
Cost: $40 at door
INFO: TIYLO.org

Fridfay / Alexandria Bay

2. North Country Festival of Trees

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday
Where: Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St.
What: Public viewing of decorated Christmas trees, voting and silent auction. Festivalof Trees Holiday Gala Friday at 6 p.m.
Cost: Viewing, free; Gala, $75 each
INFO: samaritanhealth.com/festivaloftrees

Friday through Sunday / Watertown

3. 2016 Holiday Reception

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Jefferson County Historical Society, 228 Washington St.
What: Christmas music, Victorian decorations, hors de’oeuvres.
Cost: $5
INFO: 782-3491

Friday / Watertown

4. Christmas in Clayton

When: All Day Saturday
Where: Clayton
What: Christmas cookie sale: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Christ Episcopal Church; Kris Kringle Holiday Market: Thousand Islands Winery; Tiny Tim’s Emporium: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hawn Memorial Library; Horse and carriage rides: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hawn Memorial Library; St. Lawrence Pottery Holiday Show: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thousand Islands Museum Juried Craft Show: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Knights of Columbus; Wares and Wears exhibition and marketplace: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thousand Islands Arts Center; Holiday food fair: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., St. Mary’s Church; Chicken barbecue: 2 p.m., O’Brien’s parking lot; Santa Central: 3 to 5 p.m., Clayton Opera House; Snapshots photo booth: 4 p.m., O’Brien’s.
Cost: Free
INFO: info@1000islands-clayton.com

Saturday / Clayton

5. Village-wide caroling

When: 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Starting from Hammond Presbyterian Church, 217 County Road 134.
What
:  Sing holiday songs throughout the community.
Cost: Free
INFO: Lisa Gallagher, 244-4416, or Rev. Evon, 342-5662

Sunday / Hammond  

Something to Eat

1. Holiday Bazaar and Bake Sale

When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday
Where: Carthage Area Hospital, new entrance off Hospital Drive.
What: Hosted by the CAH Auxiliary.
Cost: Free
INFO: 493-1000

Friday / Carthage

2. Sixth Annual Breakfast with Santa

When: 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Hammond Presbyterian Church, 217 County Road 134.
What: Menu: French toast, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit, and beverage. Face painting, gift bags, and photos.
Cost: $5
INFO: Lisa Gallagher, 244-4416, or Rev. Evon, 342-5662

Saturday / Hammond

3. Spaghetti dinner

When: 5 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: First Church of the Nazarene, 960 State St.
What: Menu: spaghetti, meatballs, sausage, salad, bread, drinks, dessert. Eat-in or take-out.
Cost: Meals for adults, $10; children’s meals, ages 5-15, $5; children ages 4 and younger eat free. Proceeds benefit Haiti mission trip.
INFO: 778-6707

Saturday / Carthage

4. Chicken barbecue

When: 11:30 a.m. Sunday
Where: Copenhagen Fire Department, 9950 Route 12.
What: Eat in or take out. Benefits Cubs Drill Team.
Cost: Dinners, $9.50; senior citizens, $7.50; children 11 years old and younger, $5.50; halves only, $5.
INFO: 688-4103

Sunday / Copenhagen

5. Fish fry

When: 4 p.m. Friday
Where: John C. Londraville American Legion Post 832, 248 E. Broadway St.
What: Menu: fried or boiled haddock, clam strips or chicken tenders, with coleslaw, French fries or baby browns, bread and butter. Benefits veterans’ and/or community projects and scholarships.
Cost: $10; seafood platter, $14.
INFO: re-order: 654-2101

Friday / Cape Vincent

The Arts

1. Gifts from the Gallery

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Arts on the Square, Franklin Building, 52 Public Square.
What: Hosted by North Country Arts Council. Shopping, hot chocolate entertainment by Gino Cappuccetti.
Cost: Free
INFO: nnyart.org.

Friday / Watertown

2. Build your Own Snowman Clay Class for Kids

When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: Lyme Free Library, 12165 Route 12E
What: With artist/instructor Tracey Jean.
Cost:  $10
INFO: 649-5454

Friday / Chaumont

3. Shoulder Season

When: Friday through Sunday
Where: Thousand Islands Arts Center, 314 John St.
What: Exhibit of cashmere paisley shawls.
Cost: Free
INFO: 686-4123

Friday through Sunday / Clayton

4. Musical Cinderella

When: 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: South Lewis Middle School
What: South Lewis Middle School musical, “Cinderella.” chicken and biscuit prior to Friday’s performance, cafeteria, 5-7 p.m., sponsored by South Lewis varsity baseball team.
Cost: $6 adults; $5 seniors and students. Discount passes available.
INFO: 348-2500

Friday and Saturday / Turin

5. 6th annual elf workshop

When: 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: Flower Memorial Library, 229 Washington St.
What: All materials supplied. Families welcome. Children leave with two wrapped gifts. Santa and Mrs. Claus to visit following workshop.
Cost: Free
INFO: 785-7709

Saturday / Watertown

Learning Something New

1. Diabetes education class

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday
Where: Carthage Area Hospital, 1001 West St.
What: Learn about diabetes and how to maintain health.
Cost: Free
INFO: 493-1000, ext. 3222

Saturday / Carthage

2. Children's Fall Craft Classes

When: 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Gallery Lake Saint Lawrence Arts, 10 Main St.
What: Classes held every other Saturday afternoon. Materials are provided. No reservations required, just bring your kids.
Cost: $5
INFO: N/A

Saturday / Waddington

3. No Worries

When: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church, 3 1/2 E. Main St.
What: Local Living Venture, tools for reducing stress with Kathy Montan. Dress in comfortable, loose fitting clothing, bring drinking water.
Cost: $22; couple/family of two, $40; students, $10.
INFO: ocallivingventure.org or 347-4223

Saturday / Canton

4. Tutoring and computer instruction

When: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday
Where: Hawn Memorial Library, 220 John St.
What: Have your questions answered and learn new computer techniques.
Cost: Free
Info: N/A

Saturday / Clayton

5. Childbirth education classes

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Carthage Area Hospital conference room, 1001 West St.
What: Childbirth education class
Cost: Free
INFO: 493-1000

Saturday / Carthage

’Tis the season to start your holiday shopping

JUSTIN SORENSEN n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES Connie Crowder, owner of DownEast’r Studio Designs shows her stemware coasters and cloth bowls to Nancy Kall , left, and Marcia Kall, Sunday during the Watertown Urban Mission Holiday Craft Fair and Market at the Dulles State Office Building.

JUSTIN SORENSEN / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
Connie Crowder, owner of DownEast’r Studio Designs shows her stemware coasters and cloth bowls to Nancy Kall , left, and Marcia Kall, Sunday during the Watertown Urban Mission Holiday Craft Fair and Market at the Dulles State Office Building.

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Have a plan, take a breath and don’t overdo it this season

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It starts with Halloween. After that, the race is on for two solid months. Along with all our other chores and obligations there’s decorating (inside, outside and sometimes for more than one household), shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, traveling, hosting and general celebrating, sometimes well into early January.

Throw in sibling squabbles, unmet expectations, missing or seriously ill loved ones and a little too much alcohol and you have the makings of a stressful, exhausting, potentially depressing time of year. What can you do about it? We asked several experts for their advice. Here’s what they had to say about how to handle some of the most common holiday stressors.

Shopping and gift-giving

Gift shopping can be stressful for all sorts of reasons. Among them is trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Elaine Rodino, a Pennsylvania psychologist, said you know it’s a problem if you’re taking too much time to choose each gift. “You feel like the gift, and often the wrapping, is a major reflection on you.”

Leslie Connor, a psychologist in Delaware, agrees. “By trying to find the ultimate gift we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves, which can be overwhelming.” That can lead to overspending, especially if your gift list is long. Instead, focus on simply getting something the recipient will enjoy and not what the gift says about you personally.

If you didn’t begin your holiday shopping in July, it’s time to get busy or you’ll be stuck at the mall with all the other procrastinators. Be prepared to be patient. Plan to arrive early, when stores and businesses open, or shop during the dinner hour, when crowds often thin out. Better yet, shop online but allow plenty of time for possible shipping delays.

Too many tasks on the to-do list

Make a list of everything you would like to do, delegate what you can and take on only those things you can comfortably accomplish. Then cross off the rest. “Ask yourself: ‘What do I find meaningful and what can I let go of?’” Connor said.

Here’s another way to think of it: “Accept that you can’t do all the work yourself,” said New York psychologist Carol Goldberg. She advises you to ask for and accept all offers of help. “You don’t have to show off your cooking and decorating skills. Give everyone a job.” And be realistic about your budget, time and energy. Here are some areas where you might cut back:

Decorating: Limit yourself to one area that’s most important to you or your family, say the front yard or the living room, and skip the rest. Or, scale back. “Be satisfied to be the house that’s next door to the one that makes the news every year,” advises Rodino. “Don’t even try to compete.”

n Gift-wrapping: Use gift bags, tissue paper and premade bows. Take advantage of charitable gift-wrapping fundraisers.

n Sending holiday cards: Just stop. Send holiday greetings via email or social media, advises Dr. Nick Dewan, a BayCare psychiatrist and medical director of Behavioral Health Services. Whittle down your list to only those you know will truly miss them. And, if the deadline is a problem, it’s OK to send New Year’s cards, Dewan adds.

n Baking: Take shortcuts. Start with a mix or use refrigerator dough. Buy plain bakery cookies, cakes or confections and decorate them yourself. Make just one favorite recipe rather than 10.

Cooking: Buy as much as you can afford from a deli, restaurant or caterer. Have guests bring dishes or help with the cooking. And, remember this sage advice from the queen of entertaining, the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten: “People don’t have a better time because you made everything yourself.”

n Cleaning: If possible, this is the time to hire a cleaning service or your neighbor’s housekeeper. Not in your budget? Streamline cleaning to the most used areas: living room, bathroom, kitchen. When invited guests ask how they can help, ask a few to plan to stay late to assist with cleanup. Use real flatware, but disposable plates, cups and napkins.

n Hosting dinners, parties: If you’re tired of hosting, come clean and ask someone else to do it. Or, you provide the location and ask others to bring the food, drinks and handle cleanup. Try inviting people over for dessert and coffee from 2 to 4 p.m. Make or buy one special dessert, and let guests who offer bring additional treats.

Expectations

Be realistic about what you can accomplish and afford. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Simplify the menu, drop dishes that are too much work, make it potluck and let everyone contribute. Dewan said we should all remember, “Most people care more about having fun and being together than having an elaborate celebration with a tired host.”

“Don’t compete with yourself,” adds Rodino. “Don’t feel that you have to outdo what you did last year. It just gets to be so much work that it’s less and less fun.”

Take stock of your family traditions and let go of the ones you no longer enjoy. Rodino said keeping holiday traditions alive and following them to a tee is a top reason for holiday stress. If attending midnight church services followed by a gift exchange is just too much for your family, find another service to attend and schedule gift-giving earlier in the day.

“All those traditions had a start somewhere, at sometime,” Rodino said. “So why not start some new ones that fit your schedule and your lifestyle better?”

And, while you’re managing expectations, don’t expect problem family members and friends to suddenly change and be the perfect guests this year. Connor said you should instead resolve not to react to or get drawn into their bad behavior. Dewan suggests you even practice in advance “positive ways to respond when they get under your skin.”

When your guests don’t get along

Be sure each knows the other one will be there or has been invited. Ask them to put aside their differences for the few hours that the family will be together.

“One thing that tends to upset people is that they imagine everyone else is with a loving, perfect family and they compare their imperfect family to that one,” Connor said. “The truth is that many people have family struggles. … Maybe you don’t stay as long as you would like, or you engage only with family members who are easier to be with.”

Problem drinkers

Stopping alcohol cold turkey can cause serious medical problems in alcoholics — do this only with medical help or supervision. Ask heavy drinkers to come over, say hello and leave before they start drinking. Don’t serve alcohol while they are there.

Dewan said it is important to set boundaries with them in advance and let them know how you expect them to behave. “Don’t bring up past bad behavior and hurts, but do stand firm on your boundaries for this year,” he said.

For those who have quit drinking, it can be hard to be around alcohol, especially in the early stages of recovery. Have plenty of nonalcoholic beverages available. Limit the amount and kind of alcohol you serve: no hard liquor or fruity cocktails that make it too easy to overindulge. Have just a couple of bottles of wine on hand, not a couple of cases.

Don’t ever push alcoholic drinks on guests and don’t let drinkers drive. Cut off alcohol at least an hour before the party ends. Have phone numbers handy for taxicab and ride-share services. Or, if you’d rather not serve alcohol in support of someone who is newly sober or struggling with alcohol, let your guests know in advance and ask them not to BYOB.

Missing a loved one

It’s OK to remember and talk about loved ones who have passed away or who can’t be at the party because of illness or inability to travel. Honor that person with activities like inviting guests to help make a memory album, or visiting a grave site or volunteering at their favorite charity. “Find a way to express your grief or sadness, rather than holding it in,” Connor said.

If a loved one is hospitalized or too ill to attend, Goldberg suggests passing around a card, having everyone sign it and adding a personal message. Or, make a video for those who would enjoy that more. It lets those who couldn’t attend know they were missed and remembered.

Watertown holiday tree-lighting event set (Video)

STEPHEN SWOFFORD / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES Logan Anderson, 7 months, admires the christmas lights in Public Square with his mom, Laura Anderson, during the Christmas Parade and Downtown Tree Lighting ceremony in Watertown.

STEPHEN SWOFFORD / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
Logan Anderson, 7 months, admires the christmas lights in Public Square with his mom, Laura Anderson, during the Christmas Parade and Downtown Tree Lighting ceremony in Watertown in 2015.

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