EMPLOYEE CHRISTMAS PARTIES If you are planning a Christmas party, especially a work-related party, be considerate and do not hold them after business hours. People are tired and they want to get home to their families or friends after working all day. Put the money to better use and give your employees a bonus. Trust me; they will appreciate this type of recognition more than a party. Santa’s tip: Don’t lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. I am the light-hearted, commercial side of the season. Let’s not get things confused. CHRISTMAS MOVIES I usually only recommend two Christmas movies: SCROOGED (Bill Murray) and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Mrs. Claus’s favorite.) Then again, there’s A CHRISTMAS STORY. (Okay, I can only speak for myself here, but it’s kinda ‘been there, done that’ with A CHRISTMAS STORY.) In the end, most holiday movies are basically the Scrooge story: Mean person learns to be nice. Or the modern version: Busy mom or dad learns to spend more time with the kids. Santa’s tip: Do something special for your hard working parents. CHRISTMAS SHOPPING The insanity begins the day after Thanksgiving. I know you want to be generous this time of year, but the whole giving-and-getting thing can get sticky. During the holidays, we can neither completely reject nor embrace everything that is Christmas. We don’t want to end up with a ‘bah humbug’ attitude, nor do we wish to tacky up our homes with decorations that the folks in the space shuttle can enjoy. Neither extreme is desirable. Christmas is a mixed-up jumble of expectations and obligations, and we must each decide what is right for us. Santa’s tip: If you are planning Christmas shopping, remember to buy locally. It is the best gift you can give to your family and your community. SEASONS DRINKING Ho. Ho. Ho. I know you’ll be wanting a little more than yuletide cheer to keep warm this holiday season; some turn to a good old-fashioned holiday drink loaded with alcohol. Drinking alcohol can be highly pleasurable at this time of year, but many holiday drinkers don’t drink often, so they have a lower alcohol tolerance. Over doing it can lead to embarrassing moments, unforgettable pontifications and DUI’s. Santa’s tip: Be mindful of how alcohol affects your mood and inhibitions. Eat a full, healthy meal before drinking any alcohol and set a drink limit before you begin.