Prevent holiday heartache

Published 5:10 pm Tuesday, December 17, 2019

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We can’t help those of you who don’t get what you asked for on Christmas Day, except perhaps to suggest you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, and you would do well to behave better in the coming year. We can, though, offer sound advice that will go a long way to preventing aggravation and even heartache during the remaining week before Dec. 25.

• Drive defensively. Only you can control your own driving, so move with care and patience while going from store to store — most preferably all within Franklin and Southampton County, of course. No need for a temper tantrum if someone gets “your” parking space closest to the shops. A few extra yards walking won’t hurt. Though please don’t park in a handicapped space if you don’t qualify. That’s the kind of behavior that merits extra coal in the stocking from you-know-who.

• Arrange for a designated driver or alternate transportation. Alcohol usually abounds when it comes to Christmas parties, so be a thoughtful host and offer to call a cab or some other way for your inebriated guests to get home safely. Be an even more considerate guest and don’t go hog wild doing shots or guzzling cup after cup of real eggnog or mulled wine. Holiday parties are supposed to be festive, not fearful and embarrassing. Do you really want to be banned from next year’s shindigs? We thought not.

• Be alert to your surroundings. Look around where you are parking, no matter if it’s downtown or, if you must, at a mall in another city. Report suspicious-looking characters, especially if they seem to be wandering through parking lots. Perhaps shop with another person as back-up. To minimize vulnerability, don’t carry too much back to your car, and don’t leave bags and boxes on view in the vehicle.

• If you’re expecting packages to be delivered to your doorstep while away at work or shopping, arrange for a neighbor or friend to be on the lookout and take them to their place for safekeeping. The Grinch might have gotten a heart three times its original size, but the human kind that will steal gifts have no such organ … at all.

Our hope is you all have a safe and stress-free Christmas.