Keep Your Holidays Merry and Bright: Avoid the Stress of Winter

Ice_stormDespite the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, December is National Stress Free Family Holidays Month. Stress can diminish your holiday shopping productivity, slow down the tree trimming and turn even the merriest of spirits into a real Grinch.

Stress often stems from being unprepared. ”What am I going to buy for my boss?” “What am I going to give to the neighbor who just surprised me with a batch of homemade cookies?” “Does winter break really start next week? What am I going to do with the kids?” During the holidays a lack of preparation can send your stress levels through the roof.

Once you’ve checked that last gift off your list, don’t forget that this time of year is also an important time to be prepared for winter weather and other emergencies. According to the National Weather Service, some of the coldest periods this winter are expected throughout December. Typical chilly temperatures and precipitation are expected to occur in January; however, in early February it appears we’ll have more active cold air moving in across the state. Winter weather doesn’t always aline with predictions, though, so it’s best to prepare now.

To help keep you from becoming a stressed-out Scrooge this season, we have compiled a list of several ways to prepare for holiday emergencies and cold weather.

  • Keep a NOAA weather radio on hand, and make sure to stay weather-aware and listen to the latest alerts concerning winter weather.
  • While you’re out doing your holiday shopping, make sure you get any supplies necessary to replenish your Ready kit.
  • If you plan on traveling, keep extra blankets and rock salt or kitty litter in the trunk. If roads are icy, avoid driving.
  • Keep warm on wintry days by weather-proofing your house with weather stripping around doors and windows to ensure proper home insulation. Allow faucets to drip during cold weather to prevent freezing.
  • If you have a lighted Christmas tree, make sure you turn the lights off before you leave the house or go to sleep. These lights can get very hot and become a fire hazard if left unattended.
  • No matter how cold it gets, never use a stove or oven to heat your house. Prepare safe alternative sources of heat. Even a gas or oil furnace needs electricity to operate, so if you have a fireplace or wood stove as an alternative heat source, be sure you have enough wood. Also, never bring portable generators, camp stoves or grills into the home; they should be kept outside and at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and vents.

We hope you take the time to follow these steps and ensure a happy and safe holiday for you and yours!