Believing in Santa
a Holiday Short Story
by Chelle Cordero
Dini didn’t want to think about her past. And, Seth wasn’t thinking about anything but his past. Thrown together as Santa and his Number One Elf at the homeless shelter, Dini and Seth seem to be on opposite sides… of everything. Her past is catching up to her, and Seth may risk his future to protect her.
The Holiday Secret
a short story
by Neva Squires-Rodriguez
When Evaliz’s parents send her to New York to visit her sister, Tatiana for the holidays, she has no idea what the weekend has in store for her. After a devastating conversation with her boyfriend she is doubtful that her visit with her sister, who she’s always been jealous of will be any better. After Tatiana reveals a shocking secret, Evaliz wonders how her life will ever be the same.
Will Evaliz finally realize that the most important thing she could have wanted for Christmas was something she had the entire time?
Hard-edged fireman Dean Mulligan has never been a big fan of Christmas. Twinkly lights and sparkly tinsel can’t brighten the memories of too many years spent in ramshackle foster homes. Although he’s established himself as one of the top firefighters at San Gabriel Station 1, he doesn’t think he’s good enough for someone like gorgeous Lizzie.
Lizzie Breen is used to fighting—from her alpha male brothers, who try to smother her in the name of safety, to the life-threatening childhood illness she overcame. She knows what she and Mulligan feel for each other is a lot more than a fling, but she can’t get him to see that. The only gift Lizzie wants to give him this season is her love, but he’s not willing to accept it.
When Mulligan is trapped in the burning wreckage of a holiday store, a Christmas angel arrives to open his eyes. But is it too late? This Christmas, it’ll take an angel, a determined woman in love, and the entire Bachelor Firemen crew to make him believe … it is indeed a wonderful life.
I couldn’t help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. It was the type of feel good story that makes you warm and fuzzy all over and is a perfect read for this holiday season. It was full of humor, touching scenes, and a happy ending. I loved the relationship between Dean and Lizzie and how she never gave up on him. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating–too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.
Why are the Holidays So Hazardous to Our Health?
Physician Shares Tips for Giving Your Body What It Needs
to Fight Illness
It’s a sad statistical fact: The holidays, from Christmas to New Year’s, are a treacherous time when it comes to our health.
“There’s a spike in heart attacks and other cardiac issues,” says Dr. John Young, a physician specializing in the treatment of chronic illnesses through biochemical, physiological and nutraceutical technologies, and the author of “Beyond Treatment: Discover how to build a cellular foundation to achieve optimal health,”www.YoungHealth.com.
“The incidence of pneumonia cases spikes – in both cold and warm climates. And deaths from natural causes spike. In fact, more people die of natural causes on Christmas Day than any other day of the year!”
While those numbers are well-documented, the cause(s) are not.
“Stress plays a role, particularly if your immune system is weakened,” Dr. Young says. “If you look at how most of us eat from Halloween through New Year’s, it’s easy to see how the immune system takes a beating and otherwise healthy people become more susceptible to illness during the holidays.”
It’s basic biochemistry, he says.
“We eat a lot more refined sugar, for instance, which is a carbohydrate that’s been stripped of all the vitamins, minerals and proteins that make up a complete carbohydrate,” he says. “Our bodies can’t use that, so the cells in our digestive organs work overtime, burning up a lot of energy, vitamins and minerals to digest it, and they get nothing back. So, eventually, they grow weak.”
So – can we have a little sugar, and good health, too? Dr. Young says we can.
“The occasional slice of pumpkin pie is fine as long as you’re also feeding your cells with the nutrients they need – the minerals, vitamins, good quality protein, amino acids, essential fatty acids – to stay healthy.”
He offers these tips for staying healthy through the holidays and throughout the year.
• Get your vitamin D!
Vitamin D is actually a hormone, not a vitamin, and one of our best sources for it is sunshine. Unfortunately, many people work indoors all day, so they get little sun exposure. When they do go outside, they wear long sleeves and sunblock to protect against skin cancer. And, of course, in the wintertime, people in cold climes tend to stay inside. As a result, many of us are vitamin D deficient, and should be taking supplements.
“Vitamin D is crucial to many physiological systems, including our immune defenses,” Dr. Young says. “It helps fight bacterial and viral infections, including the flu. It supports our cardiovascular system; optimal vitamin D levels can reduce hypertension, heart attacks and stroke.
“If I feel I’m coming down with a cold, I’ll take 40,000 units of vitamin D at bedtime,” he says. “The next morning, I usually feel like a new person.”
• Eat your protein – 1 gram for every 2.2 pounds of body weight daily.
In this country, we think a healthy diet means eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. We’ve forgotten protein, Dr. Young says.
“Our immune system is made up of proteins – our bones are 40 percent protein,” he says. “We need protein.”
When calculating your protein intake, consider: an egg has about 8 grams, and 8 ounces of fish, chicken, beef or pork have about 30 grams.
Dr. Young does not give any of his patients more than 100 grams of protein a day.
• Get a good night’s sleep, exercise, and manage your stress.
Yup, some doctors’ orders never change. Rest, exercise and finding effective, healthy ways to cope with stress are simple ways to pamper your cells.
“One of the many cellular benefits of exercise is that it increases the oxygen in our bloodstream. Every cell in our body requires oxygen, so consider exercise another means of feeding your cells.”
It’s also important to manage stress during the holidays. With unchecked stress, our body releases large amounts of cortisol which, among other things, suppresses the immune system.
“Take time out to meditate, listen to music, or take a walk in the woods,” Dr. Young says. “It feels good – and it’s good for you!”
About John Young, M.D.
Dr. John Young, (www.YoungHealth.com), is a medical doctor with more than 15 years’ experience working in emergency rooms and pediatric burn units. He’s the medical director of Young Foundational Health Center, specializing in treating patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes by addressing the physiological issues and not just the symptoms. He’s also medical director of Young Health Products, which incorporate the latest biochemical, physiological and Nobel Prize-winning protocols for optimal cellular nutrition. Dr. Young is the author of “Beyond Treatment.” He takes questions via a call-in conference call every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. Call (760) 569-7676, access code 772967.
How to Treat a Family Member with
Dementia This Holiday Season
World-renowned Expert Shares 5 Helpful Tips
Whether it’s Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa – or your spouse – the “holiday quarter” can present special challenges for families with a loved one suffering from dementia.
“We have an expectation that loved ones should never change from the person we’ve perceived them to be for years, but everyone changes significantly over an extended period, especially those diagnosed with dementia,” says Kerry Mills, a sought-after expert in best care practices for people with dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s. November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
“Dementia encompasses a wide range of brain diseases, which means it’s not the fault of a Grandma if she has trouble remembering things or gets flustered. Empathy for what she’s experiencing on the level of the brain will help your relationship with her. Do not expect her to meet you halfway to your world; you have to enter her world.”
Spouses have a particularly difficult time coping with their partner’s dementia, Mills says. A spousal relationship is a team and is central to the identities of both people. So, while you’re paying special attention to a parent’s or grandparent’s condition, extend it to his or her spouse, she says.
Families tend to have a hard time coping with a loved one’s dementia during holiday gatherings. Mills, coauthor with Jennifer A. Brush of “I Care, A Handbook for Care Partners of People with Dementia,” (engagingalzheimers.com), offers tips for how to interact with a loved one – say, Grandma – whose brain is deteriorating.
• Do not get frustrated. “First, do no harm” – the excellent maxim taught to medical students, is also a great first principle for those interacting with Grandma, who may be experiencing a level of frustration and anxiety you cannot comprehend adequately. She simply doesn’t have access to certain details, but she is still a conscious and feeling person who has plenty to offer. If you get frustrated, she’ll pick up on it.
• Dedicate someone to Grandma during the gathering. Of course, loving families will want to include Grandma in the group, but be careful not to overwhelm her with attention. Her brain, which has trouble processing some information, could use assistance – a liaison to help her process things. Grandpa could probably use a break; her son or daughter may be the best handler during a gathering.
• Give Grandma purpose; give her a task in the kitchen. Keep Grandma, who may’ve been prolific in the kitchen in the past, engaged! Simple tasks, such as mashing potatoes or stirring gravy, may be best. Engage her in conversation about the food. If it’s Grandpa whose suffering dementia, include him in a group. Give him a cigar if the other men are going outside to smoke. Engage him in a conversation about football, which may allow him on his own terms to recall details from the past.
• Use visual imagery and do not ask yes-or-no questions. Again, asking someone with Alzheimer’s to remember a specific incident 23 years ago can be like asking someone confined to a wheelchair to run a 40-yard dash – it’s physically impossible. Don’t pigeonhole her. Direct Grandma in conversation; say things to her that may stimulate recollection, but don’t push a memory that may not be there. Pictures are often an excellent tool.
• Safety is your biggest priority. Whether during a holiday gathering or in general, Grandma may commit herself to activities she shouldn’t be doing, such as driving.
“She’s been driving for decades, and then she develops a memory problem, which not only prevents her from remembering her condition, but also how to drive safely,” Mills says. “This major safety concern applies to any potentially dangerous aspect to life.”
“Currently, there’s a stigma with the condition, but I’d like to change the baseline for how we regard dementia,” Mills says. “As with other medical conditions, Alzheimer’s should not be about waiting to die – patients often live 15 years or more after a diagnosis. It should be about living with it.”
About Kerry Mills
Kerry Mills, MPA, is an expert in best care practices for persons with dementia both in the home and in out-of-home health care residences and organizations. She is a consultant to numerous hospitals, assisted livings, hospice, home care agencies, senior day care centers and nursing homes. In her twelve-year career in health care, she has served as executive director and regional manager for numerous long-term dementia facilities. She is an outspoken advocate for persons with dementia, lecturing in Hong Kong, Canada, China, Europe and the United States. Her book, coauthored with Jennifer A. Brush, “I Care,” (engagingalzheimers.com), is the 2014 Gold Award Winner of the National Mature Media Awards.
Holiday Advertising Study
Majority of Americans say TV holiday advertising impacts their shopping while admitting they would like to see Scrooge-like themes in ads
LEXINGTON, KY, November 26, 2013– Viamedia, the cable industry’s leading independent cable rep firm and provider of online advertising services, today announced its 2013 Holiday Advertising Study which determined how advertisements on cable TV networks impacts the 89% of Americans who watch cable TV programming. The study examined the positive qualities that make holiday advertisements most memorable and finally asked what “Scrooge-like” themes, if any, Americans would like to see in holiday advertisements.
A majority of Americans (54%) admitted advertisements on cable TV networks (e.g., ESPN, Lifetime, TNT, A&E, History Channel, CNN) impact their holiday shopping. The demographics most affected were students (75%), men 18 – 34 (66%) and women (69%) 18 – 34. The reasons included:
- 38% – informs me about sales (which was particularly important to 60% students)
- 25% – gives me ideas on what to buy for hard to buy people
- 21% – prompts me to consider shopping at that store or buy products at that store
- 19% – makes me realize how many shopping days are left
- 15% – makes me realize what’s hot
- 8% – makes me shop for myself
An overwhelming majority of Americans (72%) agreed positive qualities make a holiday advertisement on cable TV networks most memorable – especially 82% of households with children. However when it came to what exactly Americans thought of as memorable, Americans were hard-pressed to agree with the number one choice being emotional appeal – with just 18% of Americans naming that trait. Emotional appeal was followed by portrayal of the family with 14%. Only 13% of households with children said portrayal of family was important. That was followed by holiday tie-in (14%), feature people like me (8%), play on words like “happy Holidays” (6%) and inclusion of veterans (5%).
A majority Americans (59%) admitted they wanted to see “Scrooge-like” themes in holiday advertisements on cable TV networks – which was especially popular with men (77%) 18 – 34 and women (75%) 18 – 34. Americans ranked their favorite Scroogey scenarios – from naughty kids getting coal to ditching the in-laws:
- 27% – How do you react to a present you don’t like
- 25% – the best way to return a bad gift
- 21% – the right way to re-gift
- 19% – Naughty kids getting coal for Christmas (24% of households with children said yes – 17% said no)
- 16% – how to shop for people I don’t like
- 14% – what to do with carolers who can’t sing
- 14% – how to shop for myself guilt free
- 13% – how kids can be annoying
- 12% – how to ditch the in-laws
“Viamedia’s 2013 Holiday Cable Advertising Study proves how cable TV advertisements play a key role in how we celebrate the season,” said Becky Jones, Vice President Marketing & Research at Viamedia. “Cable TV advertising impacts a majority of Americans – giving gifts ideas and even alerting them to how many shopping days we have left. It’s a good feeling to know that consumers find holiday ads on cable TV to be a meaningful part of their holiday experience. And, just like with the cable TV programs themselves, their opinions of what makes a commercial’s magic ingredient are as broad as their own imaginations.”
We found it surprising that while Americans can’t agree on the magic ingredient that makes a good holiday commercial, they can agree on wanting to see Scrooge-like themes in advertisements.”
Headquartered in Lexington, KY, Viamedia is a leading provider of outsourced local advertising sales services and provider of online advertising services. The company specializes in selling DMA-based advertising to local, regional and national advertisers on behalf of U.S. cable and telecommunications service providers, utility companies and municipalities. For more information on Viamedia, visitwww.viamediatv.com. You can find us on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/viamediatv or like us on Twitter @Viamedia_TV.
This survey was conducted online within the United States between November 13th and 15th, 2013 among 2,051 adults (aged 18 and over) by Harris Interactive on behalf of Viamedia via its Quick Query omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.