We wish you a Merry Christmas and a stress free New Year

Here's to a happy and healthy 2017

Snow covered tree

Christmas is almost here!

Now that Calgary is blanketed with a cozy layer of snow, it is a great chance to enjoy the twinkling lights, warm up by glowing fires, eat baked Christmas goodies, and wait for Santa. As our families gather, we hope that you can savour the holiday moments ahead.

The holidays present an opportunity for magical and carefree times. The also present an opportunity for stress-filled adults who fall victim to the season's high expectations. It is completely normal to feel highs and lows with this season, especially in a tough economic year like we have experienced in Calgary.

And let's face it, some holiday-related stress can be expected.

Turkeys will be burned. Flights will be cancelled. A well-meaning aunt will ask you why you’re still single. So as the holiday pressure of visits, shopping and traditions all come together over the next few days how can you become one of those people who chuckles at adversity—silly snowstorm!—instead of crying into your eggnog?

Be realistic.

The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. Choose a few traditions to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. And if your turkey gets burned, just order a pizza. Your family is there for you, not the meal.

Set aside differences.

Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances for a few hours or days until a more appropriate time for discussion.

Reach out to people.

If you are alone this holiday-by choice, by circumstance or because of a cancelled flight-reach out to people. Let your friends, colleagues or local volunteer organizations know that you are alone. If you’d prefer to be around people, but don’t want to intrude or visit, try heading to a movie for the afternoon. There are great movies released on Christmas Day and the theatres will have people there.

Stick to a budget.

Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.

Seek professional help if you need it.

There are plenty of great services in Calgary to help with problems, find information or provide a person to talk to. If you are feeling particularly stressed out this season, our need some help, make the call. Here are a few organizations who are open throughout the holiday that can provide assistance:

Distress Centre Calgary 403-266-HELP(4357) 24 hour crisis line or 403-264-8336 (Teen Line)

Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-SUICIDE(784-2433)

Canadian Mental Health Association Contact our peers at 403-297-1402 or peer@cmha.calgary.ab.ca

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or online www.kidshelpphone.ca