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Home | Tag Archives: christmas

Tag Archives: christmas

Guest Column: Embracing the True Spirit of the Holidays

This time of year brings to my mind so much goodness that I have been fortunate to observe and experience. Every day, a myriad of brand new discoveries, opportunities, and encounters abound at home, at work, or as we go about our daily business and routines.

Some discoveries, opportunities, and encounters are very tiny, and then there are others that leave us in awe. Still there are those are neither tiny nor daunting; they are simple, yet comforting, and help place a smile on our faces and maybe even bring a stir to our hearts.

Sometimes we are so focused on the not-so-good parts of our days to the point that all the goodness right before our eyes becomes “an invisibility” – not just to our eyes, but to our hearts, and to our minds, and even to our longing souls.

Everyone, no matter how insignificant and unimportant he or she may seem in our view of who does and does not have value and worth in our lives, is in reality extremely important, valuable,  and very worthwhile by virtue of their very existence and humanity.

In this time of year, we are reminded that things like position, possessions, titles, financial enjoyment, social attractiveness, and made-up images we project of ourselves do not define us in the least bit.

Perhaps, they have some importance on a limited peripheral level, but that’s all. What defines us, if we live the spirit of this special holiday season, is who we are in terms of our character, our integrity, our passion for good, our positive attitudes, and our goodwill towards others.

It is there that we find the genuine and most authentic greatness of individuals. Let us, therefore, live in the spirit of such holiday reality, for it is then that we can truly come to find and embrace the purity of what joy to the world really means.

We are all in this together. You and I should always be ready and willing to help our fellow men and women, when they occasionally trip and fall, by helping them to get back up and continue moving forward. One day someone trips, another day, another too will trip, and then it will be me.

This holiday season, let others know that they are important to us.  Abigail Van Buren once said that “The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.” Hence, let us not be indifferent towards others we relate to, be it family, friends, co-workers, or even people we may meet on the street. Let’s seize the moment to make them feel the warmth of this holiday season every day of our lives.

Allow me, friends, to leave you with this final thought someone once shared with me: “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

Let’s live this holiday spirit today, tomorrow, and always!


Author – Oscar G. Gabaldon, Jr., CWLS, became a lawyer in May 1982. He has also served as a judge for the Child Protection Court for many years, and now works in the City Attorney’s Office as a Litigator and as the Police Legal Advisor.


No French Hens, Just Holiday Tips for 12 Days of Stress Relief and Joy

Each year when the seasons change, we start to think of the holidays and start to see sales and Black Friday ads. Around the time when toy commercials increase there is an increase in stress, anxiety, and depression as well.

For those whose fall experience is not just the crowds and ads, but greater stress and depression at this time of year, there are a few things that can be done to reduce stress and increase joy in the holiday season.

On the 1st Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the idea of sunlight as stress relief…

It stimulates the production of serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that improves mood and lessens stress and depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder is the result of the body receiving less sunlight during months when the days are shorter. So make sure you get some sun on your face; it may be sun and snow not sun and sand, but it will help improve your mood.

On the 2nd Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the idea of walking of worries…

The rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain, and it decreases anxiety and improves sleep. When you need to de-stress, go for a walk: not only will it reduce stress, but it will make room for more cookies.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a “handy” little stress relief…

Applying firm pressure to the fleshy part of your hand between your thumb and your index finger for just 30 seconds can reduce stress and tension in your upper body. If you are feeling stressed this is a little trick which can be done at anytime and anywhere.

On the 4th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a reminder it is okay to say no as stress relief

Overdoing it goes along with the holidays. Make sure you do for yourself, not just everyone else, and give yourself the gift of saying “no” when you feel overwhelmed. Perfect is not a part of the holidays, or life. Perfect is impossible, accepting this will help you with allowing you to say no.

On the 5th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, medicine in the form of laughing…

Don’t ignore the things that bring you joy and make you laugh as a result of making things “perfect.” Embrace the small things and the big which bring you joy and make you laugh. It not only will improve your mood and reduce stress, laughter has been shown it improve immunity to colds as well. Just think, Santa is always laughing and saying “ho, ho, ho” and he has lived how long?

On the 6th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, reducing stress through old and new tradition making…

Often it is the old customs that bring us a sense of connection to the past. While this can lead to a feeling of comfort, it can also be a cause for stress and depression. Creating new traditions can create new memories and help to lessen the depression associated with the events or people connected to old traditions.

Re-creating old traditions so they have new meaning can help alleviate grief or depression. If your wife, grandma, or dad did something and they are gone, have the family come together and do those things. This new tradition embraces the past while also sharing the joy that was given by that member who is now gone.

On the 7th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, reducing stress by signing….

Listening to music has an amazing ability to reduce stress and relax your body. While you are making those cookies for your school or work party, wrapping gifts, or driving in the car, crank up the tunes you love and sing along.

When you sing you stimulate the vagus nerve that runs down the back of the sinus cavity and throat. When this nerve is stimulated it relaxes the body, naturally relieving the tension that stress can cause. Singing also release endorphins, just as laughing and smiling do.

On the 8th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, stress relief through time out just for me…

Time outs don’t have to be punishment, they can be a reward as well. Part of the holiday season is often constantly being on the go and around others. Taking a time out and letting yourself be alone can help you to relax and re-center yourself so that you are able to enjoy the season and the activities that are a part of it more.

On the 9th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a reminder to let others help me…

While much of the holidays is spent around family, often we try and do everything on our own and then come together. Let others help, sharing the load will allow no one person to feel overwhelmed while also allowing everyone to contribute to the beauty and specialness of the holiday.

On the 10th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a reminder to celebrate even if it’s just me…

When we are single or are far from family we often avoid the holidays or let them drag us down. While the traditional view of the holidays is something from a Norman Rockwell painting, that doesn’t mean there is nothing to celebrate if your painting is different.

When you are single, you are given a special gift or doing for yourself rather than for others, make sure you take advantage of that. If you have no one to buy gifts for buy one for yourself, if you are eating for one rather than 20, still enjoy a good meal (which means what you love without that weird casserole your aunt makes.)

On the 11th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the idea to volunteer, but be picky…

Volunteering your time at the holidays can be one of the most rewarding things and can create more feelings of gratitude than you can imagine. Doing small things with no expectation of receiving something back allows you to give truly from the heart and create joy for yourself and others.

It is important to not overextend yourself at the holidays by feeling obligated to help everyone who asks. These two things may seem unrelated, but in truth the joy created inwardly and outwardly from giving of yourself is something that can only exist if you are doing so by choice, feeling forced to give means it isn’t a gift and will create more stress than before.

On the 12th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, creating new things to make me happy…

Rather than doing everything the way you always have and only doing those things, try something new this holiday season. Breaking out of the routine or tradition will allow for release while also building new memories, and perhaps create a new tradition. Remember: what is now tradition was once just something new to try.

Author – Justin Nutt LSCSW, LAC – Special Contributor to the El Paso Herald-Post

Chapin High Engineering Students put Modern Touch on Winter Villages

These aren’t your grandma’s Christmas villages.

When the students at Chapin High School’s Principles of Engineering were asked to participate in the Winter Wonderland Engineering Contest as part of the 2016 Project Lead the Way, they strayed away from the cute Victorian villages we are used to seeing during the holidays.

Instead, the students in the class used their knowledge of engineering to create modern winter villages filled with lights, sound and motion … all while using recyclable materials.

“The project demonstrates an application of all the principles in engineering skills that the students have been working on this semester,” magnet coordinator Johanna Daniels-Sherman said.

news_2595_mThe contest challenged students to create a winter village incorporating sound, light and motion. Students first created a blueprint before setting to the task of making their designs come to life as a 3-D model.

Each of the six Principles of Engineering classes created its own village, which then were displayed for public view and scoring by judges at the Chapin Rotunda. More than 100 students worked together to make the project happen.

“It’s a little bit of a class competition and a little bit of individual performance,” Daniels-Sherman said. “We brought in members of the community to serve as judges, as well as some freshman and eight grade students interested in the program.”

Sophomore Christina Bowling’s class had a global take on the project that featured landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China.

“We picked our project to represent Christmas around the world,” Bowling said. “I really like the engineering program because you really get to work on a lot of computer programs and hands-on projects like this. Incorporating engineering with the holidays is a really great idea.

Student Kiara Morales’ class project featured a spinning tree, snowman and ice-skating rink, as well as a robotic snowplow.

“I think this is fun. It gives us an opportunity to learn more about engineering,” Morales said. “We are allowed to be a lot more creative with the project. “The competition is really friendly, and there is a lot of diversity with our different mechanisms.”

Students were judged on different criteria, including creativity and technical skills and application.

“The overall goal is to demonstrate an understanding of the principles to include circuitry, architecture, creativity and design,” Daniels-Sherman said. “There are extra credit opportunities for the winners — in addition to fame.”

The potential for extra credit and all the fame went to following classes:

— First place: Operation Christmas, third period
— Second place: Nightmare Before Christmas, seventh period
— Third place: Christmas Around the Small World, first period

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