While the holidays are a time when people sing of joy and peace, there can be a lot of frustrations that go along with this time, too.
Readers and newspaper sources wishing to help people actually enjoy the season have offered some suggestions to maximize the good times and minimize the stress with some do's and don'ts.
"How about just skipping to New Year's?" said Sunset resident Tara Garner, who apologized for not being a Christmas fan. "That would solve it all."
But the other suggestions were things to do while actually participating in the holidays.
* Take time for yourself -- exercise or meditate.
Rebecca Fronberg, a program manager with the Utah Department of Health, said this first tip is key to being able to follow all of the other tips listed here.
"We know exercise has all kinds of benefits," she said, listing its ability to decrease overall stress, lower blood pressure and increase brain activity.
"Our bodies were designed to move, not just sit and be sedentary," she said. "The more we can get up and move our bodies, the more benefits."
Fronberg oversees a program called Healthy Living Through Environment, Policy and Improved Clinical Care.
She said there are many studies on the subject of exercise.
"Sitting is the new smoking, except that the furniture lobby probably isn't as powerful as the tobacco one," states an article about one such study listed in Popular Science. The name of the article is "Seven Ways Sitting Will Kill You."
Fronberg said meditation is like washing a person's mind.
"We put our dishes in the dishwasher, and we wash our clothes, but we don't always take time to clear our minds out."
* Limit activities to avoid meltdowns.
Fronberg said she thinks of this concept as "white space" on the calendar.
A person needs time that is not scheduled to just be present and not have anything going on, she said.
"You have to have that down time."
"Learn to say no if you really don't want to do something," said Rick Widdison, of Hooper. He also suggested smiling and buying less while buying local this holiday season.
Dan Litchford, of South Ogden, suggested that people stay focused on what really matters in their efforts to limit their time accordingly.
"Do as the Savior did and minister to the poor, needy, sick and afflicted. Therein is the secret of Christmas. Like the song says, 'It's the Christmas things you do all year through.' "
Radio talk-show host Dave Ramsey has created a custom Christmas budget.
Those who log onto his free blog can use his budget tool for free. It's found at daveramsey.com/blog/custom-christmas-budget.
"If you want to have a merry different Christmas, it has to start with a plan," Ramsey said on his blog. "You just can't wander into the holiday season without an idea of how you'll be spending your hard-earned dollars."
* Find joy in small and free things.
Ginny O'Neil Stout, of Ogden, said one of her favorite quotes, and one that she tries to remember in all of her Christmas interactions, is by Ralph Waldo Emerson. "He said: 'Rings and other jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself.' "
But she's open to those who break that rule, too.
"If jewels happen to be under the tree, I never turn them away, however," she said.
"Doing things for others can really lift your spirits and make you see that things are not so bad," Fronberg said.
* Honor others and make donations.
One family said a tradition they have is for each child to select a child from a giving tree at a local store and shop for them.
The mother said she loves seeing the thought and consideration that goes into this project.
Another woman suggested thinking about teens who may be in need this time of year as teens sometimes are forgotten.
"We haven't done it yet, but we've considered, as extended family, to each give a gift to a charity for children, rather than giving gifts to each other," said Jacque Stonehocker, of Ogden.
"We all have what we need, and there is so much need in the community around us. I hope we embrace it this year and make it a tradition."
One way to honor others is to dedicate a light to someone living or dead.
Starting this year, SHARE Inc. is hosting the 28th annual Christmas Grove, formerly held by the Catholic Sisters of Saint Benedict, featuring a host of Christmas lights and a life-sized Nativity.
Those honored who are living receive a card in the mail telling them of their gift. All money raised will fund emergency food deliveries in the coming year.
Donations will be accepted through Dec. 31, but those made before the end of November will allow the person's name to be read at a 5:30 p.m. Tuesday lighting ceremony for the Christmas Grove at Holy Family Catholic Church, 1100 E. 5550 South in Ogden.
Mail your donations to P.O. Box 892, Ogden, UT 84402, or call SHARE Inc. mornings at 801-399-5046.
One way to avoid eating too much is to simply know the calorie intake associated with any given food, Fronberg said.
"You can have a giant spinach salad with a little dressing and not come close to overeating," she said. "But when it comes to pecan pie, if you have a little, tiny sliver, it can add up to a lot of calories."
A yoga teacher outside of her work, Fronberg offered some yoga ideas that can help.
She said an idea described with the ancient Sanskrit word Brahmacharya is about moderation.
"You can think about this in relation to anything in your life," she said. "It's about finding that place of non-excess."
When applied to eating, she said, people can learn to eat until just before they feel full.
"It takes a little while for your belly to realize you are full," she said.
* Overindulge in substances (alcohol, drugs, caffeine and sugar).
While some who offered suggestions for the holidays said substances are how they make it through, others suggested that too much of anything, including sugar, can be a bad thing.
Tina Kirkham, a nutrition educator with Utah State University Extension Service in Davis County, warned against too much sugar during the holidays.
She said a high intake of sugar will throw a person's system off and cause him or her to feel more stress and to make bad decisions during the holidays.
She said these side effects are good things to keep in mind when watching one's diet this time of year.
Fronberg said all things may be consumed in moderation.
"Sometimes, holiday costs get out of control and lead to money problems later," Layton resident Jeffrey Bunderson, an investment adviser with Transamerica Financial, said in his November newsletter to his customers.
"Generosity can encourage overspending; travel and food costs that aren't factored into the holiday budget also inflate the credit card bill."
Bunderson offers two suggestions for keeping costs down: creating a gift-giving budget as described above and not buying things simply because they are on sale.
"Don't overspend or go into debt," said Jessica Keady, of Salt Lake City. "Pay in cash, or only with the money that you actually have. Don't use credit cards. Always give gift receipts, and when in doubt, give a gift card."
Lisa Theunis-Housel, of Ogden, suggested people remember the acronym KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid.
"Can we also consider going back to simple, handmade, creative, thoughtful things?" she said.
Andrea Widdison, of Hooper, said shopping online avoids the temptation to impulse buy.
In addition, she said crowds, one source of stress, also are avoided with online shopping.
Widdison said the advantage to her idea of shopping online listed earlier is it cuts down on holiday driving.
"Don't go anywhere near stores, malls or roads with cars on them," Marilyn Tippets, of Ogden, said when offering her suggestions for enjoying the holidays.
"Avoid Riverdale Road and Layton," said Tonya Bennett-Whaley, of Riverdale.
* Overstress or grieve.
Fronberg offered another yoga philosophy to help with this idea.
She said the Sanskrit idea of Aparigraha, or nonattachment, will help people let go of things causing them stress at any time of the year.
"If you have anxiety, you are living in the future," she said. "If you are depressed, you are living in the past. The only way to be in the here and now is to focus on the present."
"They say that, the day after Christmas, more people die than any other day of the year," said Michael Olpin, a Weber State University health promotions professor and a stress-management consultant.
He said as the expense of Christmas and missed expectations set in, people can become emotional.
"Stress is just as dangerous as nicotine or other substances," he said.
"When you go that direction with your emotions, it sets up your physiology for health problems, all kinds of health problems."
Contact reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @jfrancis.