This holiday season, I've loved editing Red Room members' thoughts about the holidays for publication on The Huffington Post's various verticals. There's such a diversity of perspective and expertise on Red Room, and these writers show it in their articles about very different aspects of the holiday season.
Pam Chun writes that "no one does Christmas like the Hawaiians who deck their city hall with gigantic decorated trees spewing 'snow' lit after an electric light parade." In 5 Ways to Honor Christmas Hawaiian Style, she describes how island values healthy living, family, and community characterize the season.
"If you make the month of December more about community and family and less about 'consumption'," writes Rachelle Carson-Begley, "you'll be well on your way to a green holiday season. Christmas is the perfect time for people to focus on family and friends and, with a little planning, you can experience the same joy of giving and receiving but in a way that benefits our environment." Her tips for doing just that are in "Going Green This Holiday Season."
As the new year rolls in, the self-perpetuating cycle of overspending on gifts, stressing over family gatherings, and in general not taking the time to enjoy the season finds many people looking at a mountain of debt and feeling completely exhausted. Vowing to do better next year, resolutions are made on New Year's Day in an attempt not to repeat the same mistakes again. Kala Ambrose writes that intention is key to breaking the cycle, and shares "Tips to Set Good Intentions during the Holidays."
The cycle Ambrose discusses can have serious repurcussions on mood. Dr. Carol Berman, a psychiatrist, shares a case history in which "John" was so depressed last November and December that he considered committing suicide. A close friend of his did commit suicide ten years ago around the holidays. Their story is the introduction to her piece, "8 Tips for Surviving Depression and Anxiety during the Holidays."
In another piece about mental health and the holidays, Tama Lane, Psy.D., writes about how previously existing post-traumatic stress disorder can flare up during this season. She shares ideas about what can be done in "Why PTSD Flares Up During the Holiday Season."
Humans aren't the only people who face crisis during the holidays. Patti Lawson (and her dog Sadie) support organizations more consistently and generously during the holidays when donations often decrease and people tend to overlook pets because they are focused on their human families. She shows how it's easy than ever to do in "How to Help Homeless Dogs This Holiday Season."
William Wynne learned a lot from Smoky, the heroic Yorkshire terrier, during 18 months of combat in the SWPA and the Far Pacific during World War II. She made him grateful for all the Christmases after. His heartwarming, thought-provoking tale of how is "What Dogs, War, and Life Can Teach You About Celebrating the Holiday Season."
Several years ago, after skipping her yoga classes and daily walks in favor of shopping for gifts and attending too many parties, Joan Moran developed a holiday recipe that maintains balance. Her "7 Tips to Eat, Drink, and Be Merry" will help you do the same.
Once you've got your mindful habits for the holidays in place, it's time to celebrate! Professional chef and party planner Andrea Gargotta loves the idea of an easy, no-pressure open house gathering that is filled with holiday cheer, so she suggests "This Season, Host a Southern Italian Cocktail Party."
Thank you to all of these writers who share their particular perspectives now and throughout the year. From me and the rest of the Red Room team, a sincere "Happy Holidays!" to this talented, supportive community!
–Gina Misiroglu, Executive Editor, Red Room