The Best Holiday Present You Can Give

Lisa Dobberteen, MD

by Lisa Dobberteen, MD
Pediatrician, CHA Cambridge Family Health
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Gratitude. It’s easy to overlook at any time but especially this year. During the busy and hectic holiday season we may get distracted by material things as well as happenings in the world around us.  For CHA patients and families, the best present is often “being present” with your family and friends.

Here are some strategies that can help:

Start new traditions. If your family celebrates holidays this time of year, I encourage you to start new traditions that involve doing something together – things like sharing, volunteering and giving.

Agree to limit gifts to a few; they’ll all seem more special and meaningful. Read together and play games! Put phones away and have a meal together without distractions. Or make a family contribution of money/time to an organization that is important to you.

Be safe. Here are a few reminders during the holidays that can support safety and good health:

  • Keep tinsel out of the reach of pets and small children
  • Keep holiday greenery, especially trees, well watered
  • Mistletoe, holly and poinsettia plants can be harmful if eaten by children and pets
  • Stick to bedtime routines to help everyone get the gift of a good night’s sleep
  • Cook meats to the recommended temperature. For families that eat meat, a meat thermometer is essential and makes a great gift
  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly to avoid spoiling and food poisoning
  • Sharpen all knives; dull knives are the cause of many holiday emergency room visits!
  • Include fresh vegetables, salads and other light fare in all holiday meals.

To all of you – we wish you a healthy, happy and grateful holiday season and new year.

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Contributed By: Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health care system committed to serving all members of our communities. We have expertise in primary care, mental health and substance abuse, and caring for diverse and complex populations. CHA patients receive high quality care in convenient neighborhood locations, and have seamless access to advanced care through CHA’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville Everett and Boston’s Metro North, CHA is working hard to offer the integrated services its communities need now, and in the future.