Welcome to December, the month that for many is the busiest of the year. The countdown has begun, but just to keep sane here are a few suggestions -- some light and some serious -- of things to do for yourself and others throughout the month.
1. Go outside to watch a December sunrise and sunset. You will be rewarded with the beauty of the winter sky.
2. Be extra nice to salespeople in stores. They are likely more stressed than you are.
3. Tie a red plaid bow on your pet’s collar.
4. Compliment at least three people every day. This is a gift that’s always appreciated.
5. Wear a Christmas apron while cooking in the kitchen.
6. Set out a bowl of nuts, oranges and apples in the living room.
7. Buy a big red candle for the kitchen table and light it every night at dinner during the holidays.
8. Never give a gift to someone else you wouldn’t want to receive yourself.
9. Watch a Christmas movie, such as It’s a Wonderful Life or White Christmas.
10. Bake something heavily laden with spices. It makes the house smell so good.
11. Fill your house with the holiday fragrance throughout the month by simmering orange peel, cinnamon and cloves on the kitchen stove.
12. Buy a red robe or pajamas that you’ll wear only on Christmas Eve each year.
13. Attend a Christmas parade.
14. The best solution for the holiday blues is doing something nice for someone else
15. Make a donation to the Humane Society.
16. Wrap Christmas gifts as you buy them.
17. Don’t forget the birds. Hang a feeder near your kitchen window so you can enjoy them.
18. Throw orange or tangerine peels into the fireplace for a spicy aroma.
19. Learn the names of Santa’s reindeer.
20. Set aside twenty minutes each day to catch your breath. Make yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up and don’t answer the phone.
21. Allow someone with just a few items to go ahead of you in the grocery store line.
22. Don’t allow a rude person to steal your Christmas joy.
23. Give a pint of blood. It’s the gift of life.
24. If you have friends who have lost family members since last Christmas, make a special effort to telephone or write a note to cheer them during the holidays.
25. Buy a live plant – a poinsettia, red amaryllis, rosemary or a Christmas-y evergreen -- and place it somewhere in the house where you see and enjoy it each day.
26. Keep holiday music playing throughout the day and night in your house or car.
27. Never prepare new recipes for holiday meals unless you've tried them out at least once beforehand.
28. Place a warm coat in a box on the street. Hopefully, it will be found by someone who needs it.
29. Make a donation to a Christmas charity or homeless shelter.
30. When you put away your Christmas lights, wrap each strand around a large empty gift box and slip a plastic bag over it.
31. On New Year’s Eve, light three candles and think about the three things that happened this year for which you are most thankful.