Holiday Blues? 7 Ways to Cheer Up

The winter solstice — and the shortest day of the year — will soon be upon us (Dec. 21), and not everyone is feeling the holiday spirit. Illness, loneliness, financial troubles, family problems and depression can make many dread the “most wonderful” time of the year and endanger both mental and physical health. A recent University of Chicago study found that feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to increased stress, higher blood pressure and other health problems. Here are some things you can do …

Thinking Money Over the Holidays

The PBS documentary Thinking Money: The Psychology Behind Our Best and Worst Financial Decisions probably won’t take root as a holiday tradition like gathering the family round to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. But it’s sure to be a worthwhile reprieve from binge-watching A Christmas Story and other holiday TV classics. For more information on when Thinking Money is airing and to watch short clips from the show, check out this website. >> Discussion: What would you do with a …

Congress Extends a Few Tax Breaks for You

So Congress wasn’t totally Scrooge-like this holiday season, as members tossed a few tax breaks to the rest of us. They passed legislation to extend a number of tax breaks that expired at the end of last year. If they hadn’t, you wouldn’t be able to take various deductions and credits when filing your 2014 tax return. >> Discussion: How do you make the most of your money? Among the key tax breaks for individuals: IRA charitable deduction. Those 70½ and older …

Gift Ideas for Tiny Grandchildren — and Their Parents

Buying adorable little presents for adorable little grandchildren is a cinch. What’s harder is ferreting out those genuinely useful items that will make life easier for the kiddos and their parents. With only nine shopping days left till Christmas, I asked six new moms of my acquaintance what they’d most like to receive this season — either for themselves or their kids. Right from the mama horses’ mouths, here are some great gift ideas you might not have thought of. >> Get travel discounts with …

’Tis the Season to Eat Wisely

Macaroni and cheese, candied yams, salty hams and tons of sugary desserts. These are just a few of the temptations between Thanksgiving and Christmas that could cause us to literally eat ourselves to death! Seriously. But, there is hope for us all. Although November is traditionally observed as National Diabetes Month and even National Family Week at the end, let’s carry wise, life-giving habits into December and throughout the years ahead. >> High-Calorie Foods That Are Good for Your Health Heart …

During the Holidays, Let’s Remember Family Caregivers

It’s that time of year when millions of families begin enjoying new scents from the kitchen, the excitement and anticipation from the children, and the sights and sounds of celebration and merriment from multiple directions. But the hustle and bustle of the holidays can be especially difficult for those caring for a loved one who is almost totally dependent on them. In fact, about 42 million people around the United States are totally or partially responsible for a family member who …