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MilitaryAvenue's Monthly Military Family Newsletter
December  2011



Stress and the Holidays.  Somehow they go hand in hand.  Overspending, too much food, lots of travel, work- and family-life balance; it is all a recipe for disaster.


My own family of six knows first hand about all of these stresses.  The 18 year old wants a laptop for Christmas (and other various $$$ gadgets), the 9 & 6 year old have had way too many cookies and are pinging off the wall, and the one-year old doesn't like the car seat for more then 4 hour stretches at a time.  And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again ... When speaking of Holiday stresses I can say "I get it!"  


The DoD Community recognizes this and wants to be sure our military-families are taken care of.  We at MilitaryAvenue want to equip you, empower you and let you enjoy the time with your family you so richly deserve.  We know you will enjoy this newsletter and will come away with some tangible way to work through what can be a very tough time of year.



Wishing you a Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays,

Leanne Kocsis and the MilitaryAvenue Team


Holiday Road Safety: Stay Safe This Holiday Season


During the upcoming holiday season, and all year, keep safety in mind whenever you're on the road. Whether you're headed around town, out of town, or out to celebrate, stay safe this holiday season.


Protect your passengers

Whenever you're on the road this holiday season, remember to always buckle up. Wearing your seat belt can reduce your risk of dying in a crash by about half. Also, make sure your young passengers are buckled into appropriate safety seats. The safest place for children of any age to ride is properly restrained in the back seat. Data show that child safety seats reduce the risk of death in car crashes by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers ages one to four.


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Tips on How to Save Money During the Holidays


'Tis the season for overspending. Excessive holiday gifts and entertainment drain the checking account faster than usual. The commercial aspect of the holiday encourages spending, but there are many ways to shave costs from the holiday budget without earning the nickname Scrooge. Money-saving strategies help focus on friends, family, and making memories without the need for a second mortgage to finance it all.


Budget for gifts. You budget for the mortgage, car payments, and groceries, so it's only natural to add in a gift budget. Write a holiday gift list to figure out how many gifts you need. The list is key in keeping your holiday budget low. Sure, your mail carrier is nice, you have friendly neighbors, and the lady in accounting always pays you on time, but your holiday gift list has to stop somewhere. Pare down your gift list to those closest to you to save money. Set a reasonable spending limit for each gift. Save that money all twelve months of the year so you'll end up with enough cash in December to buy the gifts outright rather than reaching for the plastic.


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During the holidays, we have a great time and enjoy lots of food with our families and friends. But how do we manage to keep some balance so that we can enjoy the foods we love without overdoing it? Here are some tips to help you do just that - so you can have your cake and eat it too!


  • Use a smaller plate. Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control. That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.



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Work - Life Balance over the Holidays: Time Management for the Holidays

 Military spouses work hard year-round to maintain a balance between career and family. Working while parenting is never easy and is even more challenging when the other parent is deployed. When the holidays arrive, even the smallest extra tasks can seem overwhelming. When your home and work life responsibilities start going into overdrive, what you need is not an extra three hours in a day, but a realistic plan of action to take advantage of the time you do have. Use the following tips to make the holidays a time to look forward to:


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NORAD is ready to track Santa's flight

This is so much fun! Last year my boys and I pulled up NORAD's site at and watched Santa travel around the world on Christmas Eve. It was so much fun talking to my boys about different cultures, different time zones, the way the earth spins, different parts of the world and the boys and girls that live all around us, all while watching Santa ZOOM from place to place.

You can follow them on Facebook to keep up with the latest:  Make this part of your Christmas Tradition. You won't regret it:


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More Christmas Thoughts on 'Our Letters to You', a military family blog



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I am a new military spouse and looking for some help on getting the basics of the Army life. Is there any sort of class or something I can take to learn this information?


Kim; Fort Bliss, TX;
Active Army spouse; 2 months



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Additional Reading


Soldier's Silent Night


Elf on a Shelf's Military Center


Holiday Stress and Deployment




Visit 'Our Letters to You' a military family blog