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How to Make the Most of Your Holidays

Tips and inspiration to keep the season low on stress and high on meaning

From gifts that are truly meaningful to tips on navigating tricky family situations, we’ve got advice and inspiration from the Next Avenue stories below to help you have truly happy holidays:

Traditions and Family

30 Beautiful and Heartwarming Quotes About Family  As families gather for the holidays, here are some touching words on the subject. Read more.

6 Steps to Keeping the Peace This Holiday Season  Our expectations of family members and a desire to have a heartwarming, joyful time with them seem to peak during holiday gatherings. Yet that’s precisely when relatives can be at their worst, replaying old grievances and interacting in incredibly unproductive ways. To help prevent disappointment and ensure a happier season, try applying these six strategies:… Read more.

8 Ways to Handle Awkward Holiday Situations  It’s that tricky holiday time when you can find it hard to avoid the brutal truths like there is no Santa Claus and “I hate your marshmallow sweet potato casserole.” To help us negotiate those awkward moments, we decided to tap into Southern courtesy by consulting etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, the San Antonio-based owner of The Protocol School of Texas. Here’s how she recommended responding to a bunch of holiday hot potatoes. Read more.

Holidays, Caregivers and Family: Making the Most of Time Together One of the best things about the holidays is getting together with family and friends. It may be one of the few times of the year for out-of-town family to spend extended time with an older parent or relative. In addition to reminiscing and making memories, this time provides the opportunity to take a critical look at the health and wellness of a loved one and her surroundings. Read more.

How to Be Happily Alone for the Holidays  If you’re solo this holiday season, it may be by happy choice or you may be suffering a recent loss or simply missing your family. But alone doesn’t have to mean lonely. This time of year can be ideal for reconnecting with friends, taking care of yourself, creating new traditions and finding purpose through giving. Here are six ideas to help you enjoy your own company and add meaning and joy to this celebratory time of year. Read more.

Gifts and Giving

Holiday Gifts That Give Back  Did you know you can stand up for gender equality by buying a soccer ball? Or help the homeless by giving your loved ones comfy socks? Read on for our list of holiday gifts that give back — by promoting literacy, keeping vinyl out of landfills, supporting sustainable farming and fair trade, helping people find meaningful work and more. View the slideshow.

A True Gift of the Heart  Last year, as the season of giving thanks gave way to the season of giving-because-it’s-a-given-that-we’ll-give, I received a party invitation that eased the transition from graceful comity to gross commerce. “Bring a small wrapped gift,” it read. “But make it an item you own and love … and would like one of us to receive along with its story.” So lovely, this idea of parting with something you own and love in hopes of affording another person pleasure. It instantly brought to mind a gift I received from my mother seven months before her death in 2010, one that continues to provide me with joy daily. Read the story.

How to Give Your Grown Kid the Holiday Gift of Money Smarts  Since I frequently speak to audiences and write about the importance of financial security, I’ve realized that one of the best holiday gifts I can give young people — and you can give your grown child or niece or nephew — is the gift of investing knowledge. It’s a gift with a far-reaching impact (and if you don’t get a huge “thank you” for it this year, you will one day.) Read the story.

Best Gifts for Caregivers  As you work your way down your holiday gift list, there’s one group for whom it may be more complicated to shop, even though they deserve something special: the caregivers within our families and among our friends, as well as those who work with our aging loved ones. Read the story.

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