holiday

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For family caregivers, the holidays can be a time of added stress and chaos, but they can also be a time of joy — and humor. Catherine, a family caregiver for her sister Lisa, shares:
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It was a few days before Christmas when our family got the news that Mom would be in the hospital for the holidays. Family caregiving can be tough enough, but somehow it is a bit tougher when your loved one is in the hospital. My siblings and I sprang into action to develop a list of people who could visit Mom in the hospital on Christmas. We thought of presents like a new robe and slippers, a hair appointment when she came home to us, some music to lift her spirits. When we visited the hospital on Christmas Eve, Mom handed us her Christmas wish list. “Please get me everything on the list,” she said. On the list — a fruit basket, chocolates, restaurant gift certificates, lottery tickets and more. “It’s for the nurses and staff. I need to thank them tomorrow.” And, with that simple statement, Mom reminded us of the spirit of the season — it’s in giving that we receive.
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There’s a woman in my town who seems to be everywhere. She is of indeterminate age, and whether she’s at the Metro or the farmers market, she asks passersby for money. Sometimes she sells the homeless newspaper. She usually talks in a kind of sad, downbeat monotone.
Mary Beiro with dog Reuban
When I decided to quit my job and make my first cross-country trip, I could picture it perfectly: a mix of taking in beautiful mountain and water scenery, visiting monuments and museums, consuming unhealthy and fresh food alike, hiking through our national parks and walking through new cities. Transportation would be in my four-door sedan and accommodations in rented homes and motels. And right there, riding shotgun beside me, would be Reuban, my chocolate lab.
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I love road trips. I've been crazy about them ever since the days when my parents loaded my two sisters and me into the Pontiac station wagon and went off to visit relatives or take a family vacation. On Sundays we would go for long family drives, and I always secretly wished my dad would aim the car toward the unknown and we'd be off on an unexpected adventure. Flying will never hold the anticipation and joy the highway does for me - but that doesn't mean the long and winding road can't be even sweeter.
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As Americans sit down together for the Thanksgiving holiday, millions of older Americans and others worry about where their next meal will come from.
Holiday gifts
This could very well be the year when the Grinch steals Christmas, at least in terms of the gift-giving intentions of some adults. According to a new poll from the personal finance website GoBankingRates.com, 40 percent of some 1,500 survey respondents say they won't be buying any holiday gifts this year. Blame the economy and the shaky finances of many Americans.
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If my friend Beth's recent holiday buying is any indication, shoppers are in for a more-connected experience. Last week, my 82-year-old buddy wanted to buy a platter at her church bazaar. She was met with a "newfangled credit-card" gadget.
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I love discount online shopping.  In fact, some days I worry I'm addicted to it.
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Everybody in my family knows that I love to cook (cheapskate-style, of course).  So for holiday gifts, people often give me kitchen utensils or small cooking appliances. 
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