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10 Potential Family Health Risks of Christmas

holiday stressThe most wonderful time of the year is upon us! But with all the festivities going on, it can also be one of the most hazardous! Here are a few of the holiday season’s biggest health risks:

Lots of Alcohol

Sure, Christmas foods aren’t great for your weight, but all those holiday cocktails can affect both your waistline and your liver. Not only can excess alcohol consumption be bad for your health, it can be deadly; every year, drunk driving rises over Christmas and New Year’s. Be smart about drinking.

Loneliness or Depression

Sure, many people live for the festiveness and joy of the holiday season. But there are also some for whom the holiday season make loneliness and depression worse. Holiday stress and debt can exacerbate feelings of depression this time of year.


From turkey and stuffing to Christmas cookies and candy canes, there’s a bit too much food this time of year. Indulging now and then is great, but making Christmas treats a daily (or hourly) habit can be pretty catastrophic to your health. Make a point to eat healthy meals every day, and limit the holiday snacking you do to the most special occasions.

The Flu

When the weather outside is frightful, the flu tends to find its way into our schools, offices and homes. Unchecked, the flu can develop into other diseases, like pneumonia, which can be very serious. If you have the flu, call your doctor and if you don’t, get a flu shot!

Family Stress

From deciding where to spend the holidays to picking out the perfect present for Uncle Bob, family can be particularly stressful this time of year. Try to approach the holiday season with patience and a steady reminder that this is the season of “good will toward men (even your relatives).”

Unrealistic Expectations

In the movies, the holiday season always warms hearts and brings people together. In the real world, however, it rarely has such mystical qualities. In fact, the holidays can exacerbate awkward or negative situations. It’s important to be realistic about your expectations and give yourself a break if not everything ends up being as perfect as you imagined it.

Smoke and Fire

The numbers don’t lie, and what you may not know is that you’re 50 percent more likely to die in a house fire at Christmas time than any other time of the year. Be careful and practice good fire safety throughout the season. Never leave your tree lights (or any other lights) on while you’re out, and keep trees watered and hydrated. Check the batteries in your smoke detector regularly and never hang any lights with frayed wires or in poor condition.

New Year’s Anticipation

If you dread New Year’s, you’re not alone. From finding a great party (or a great date for said party) to feeling guilty about your New Year’s resolutions (or lack thereof), there’s reason to get a sense of foreboding before December 31. Don’t stress about it; if you don’t feel like making resolutions, you don’t have to! Make changes when you’re ready to make them. And there’s no shame in spending the evening alone!

Accidents and ER Visits

The weather outside is frightful, and that means there are more than a few accidents this time of year. From light-hanging catastrophes to holiday toy malfunctions, it’s not uncommon to wind up in the emergency room this time of year. Prepare for the worst by making sure your healthcare coverage is in place – now and in the coming year!

Curious Tots

From new ornaments on the tree to interesting toys stuffed under it, the holidays pose all kinds of risks for the little ones. Make sure you only give gifts that are age-appropriate to kids, and never leave them unattended with decorations and ornaments, which can be choke hazards.

How are you keeping your health (and sanity) this holiday season?

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