Holiday Hope and Reflections

by Billie Orr, Councilwoman, City of Prescott, and Lori Kennedy, ERAU Communications Coordinator

For many people, December and January are their favorite months. The holiday season and the new year offer an opportunity for giving, receiving, reflection and resolve. Most importantly, it is a season of hope. Hope for health and happiness. Hope for financial security. Hope for a sense of purpose, community and fulfillment. 

Prescott is a very fortunate community with many resources and organizations that can assist those who are searching to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. 

One such organization is the City of Prescott’s Commission on Well-Being whose purpose is to assist Prescottonians improve their quality of life through five pillars of Well-being — Purpose, Community, Social, Financial and Physical. 

In honor of the holiday season and the coming new year, the commissioners were asked to reflect on how to make this holiday season special. Here are some of the responses:

What do you do during December and January to offset any “over indulging” you might have given in to during the holidays?

This year most of us won’t have the multitude of holiday parties that we’ve had in the past if we are social distancing. Even so, there may be excess consumption. I consider exercise as essential to our well-being. I ask my clients if they would consider not brushing their teeth on a daily basis and of course, the answer is an emphatic “No.” The same goes with exercise. To jump start the new year, I do a New Year’s Day hike before dawn, stopping often to observe the beauty of the sunrise, the fresh air, the forest, the rocks and the vistas looking forward; it isn’t where we have been that matters, but where we are at that precise moment and where we are heading. — Bonnie McMinn

To avoid all the extra calories at the holidays, I eat a small breakfast and an earlier dinner, giving me time to digest all of the rich food. One silver lining this year may be fewer parties and social commitments. We will just have to make up for it next year.
Rita Kavanaugh

The holidays are always an easy time to gain weight and over eat. I consciously try to walk a little more and hike to offset the culinary treats of the season. The best advice I can offer about how to minimize weight gain during the holidays is a simple one. Portion control. Enjoy tasty food and desserts, but plan to eat half a portion. That’s the best of both worlds. Happy Holidays.
John Murphy

My husband and I have three dogs and during the holidays they need to go for a walk. About 4 miles every single day! They keep us in good shape during the holidays if we do eat a few more sweets than normal.
Cecelia Jernegan

Do you have ideas to share for exercising financial responsibility during the holiday season when one may be tempted to overspend?

I set a budget limit per person and ask for a wish list within that price range. It gives me some options, and they still have a surprise under the tree. — Rita Kavanaugh

We save money all year long to set aside for Christmas. That way we do not go over our budget for gifts/decorations or drive up our credit card balance. After 48 years of marriage, we seem to have a system that works for our family. We buy ‘deals’ throughout the year and put them away for Christmas. Often, we forget about what we stashed away and it’s a double surprise on Christmas Day! — Billie Orr

In our family, we have eliminated gifts to each other. Instead we donate to a charity.

It is much more rewarding to give to people in need. — Peg Travers

Community. What thoughts or suggestions do you have for those who might be feeling a little lonely or down at this time of year?

I am finding that people are having trouble coping with the many challenges we are all facing this year and am optimistic for a hopefully more “normal” 2021. Many of us are hurting. I call or text people, send a funny photo or story, or ask for their thoughts on a subject of mutual interest about which we can have a conversation. My purpose is not to solve the problems, but rather have them feel that we are all connected and that they are valued human beings. — Bonnie McMinn

Holiday time in Arizona’s Christmas City is filled with opportunities to give back to our communities. There are over 2,200 nonprofits in Yavapai County needing support and volunteers. My focus this season and the new year will be researching ways to create greater “Unity in our Community.” — Billie Orr

The best thing to do during the holidays is volunteer to help others less fortunate. There are so many nonprofits in the Prescott area. Volunteering to help others keeps the holiday blues away. — Cecelia Jernegan

Social. How are you adjusting your holiday plans to manage your social activities during the holiday season to stay safe and keep your loved ones safe? 

We have a tradition of having an open home to all Christmas Eve. We spend two days cooking Italian food and have a pot of spaghetti, chicken cutlets and much more. If we find someone who doesn’t have family in our neighborhood, they are invited. This year we will make take out and deliver to anyone who would like a meal. — Peg Travers

My parents won’t be able to visit this Christmas, so we are doing a virtual celebration on Christmas Eve where our girls will open the gifts they sent so grandma and grandpa can share in that fun. We are all going to have egg nog and toast the holidays. — Lori Kennedy

If you are looking for a purpose this holiday season, here are some suggested resources to donate time and/or items to those in need.

On behalf of the Commission on Well-Being, we wish all of those fortunate enough to call Prescott home a healthful and happy holiday and new year season!

Photo: Front row from left: Katherine Augustine, Susan Johnson;
Second row from left: Ken Caplin, Dean Charlton, Ted Gambogi, Noel DeSousa, Billie Orr, Devon Richardson, Henry Hash;
Third row from left: Ennis Ogorsolka, Chuck Abbott, Mike Payson;
Fourth row from left: Wendi Lancy, Ken Lain.