December 2021 FCS News
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Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.Collapse ▲
25 Days of Christmas Cookies
Christmas time is here! This season brings lots of joy, cheer, love, and baked goods. To help you with your cookie baking, check out the Christmas Cookie Calendar for ideas, and for Cookie Recipes >>.
Your Guide to Holiday Shopping During a Chip Shortage
If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you might have heard about a global chip shortage. Why does that matter to your holiday shopping? Well, a lot of things you might buy for the holidays, like toys, have chips in them, so the shortage means prices are going up, and items that have chips can be harder to find.
Scammers follow the headlines — and just like with the mask shortage, scammers will set up shop, “sell” what everyone is trying to buy — but not deliver. Here are some tips to avoid scams as you get ready for holiday shopping this season:
How to Save Money Heating Your Home
The days are getting cooler — in fact, some parts of the U.S. have already seen snow. Experts report it’s going to be an expensive winter to heat your home, but there are things you can do now to cut your energy costs. Learn a few tips!
Holiday Shopping Safety Tips
- Try Not To Carry a Lot of Cash: Stealing someone’s debit or credit card takes extra work. That’s why cash is so attractive to thieves. If cash is all you’ve got, keep it in a wallet and in your front pocket.
- Dress Down: Dress comfortably and leave the jewelry at home. This will take a thief’s focus off of you.
- Avoid Using ATMs: Try and choose one or the other – cards or cash. Using ATMs can put you in a vulnerable position, not to mention the risk of card skimmers.
- Don’t Shop Alone (Especially at Night): Not only is shopping with someone safer, but it makes the adventure much more enjoyable! If you must shop alone, try your best to do so during the day, and park in a well-lit area close to the store entrance.
- Walk with Your Head High: Nowadays, everyone’s heads are down staring at their phones. Whatever the reason for your head being down, lift it up! This will help you have better awareness of your surroundings and keep you safer.
- Keep Your Purse Close: If you’re carrying a purse, keep in front of you instead of behind. If you’re keeping it in a cart, make sure the purse is closest to you, zipped or buttoned closed, and attached to the cart itself. You can use a carabiner or the buckle straps found on most carts.
- If you Misplace Your Debit/Credit Card, Notify Your Bank Immediately: If your debit or credit card has gone missing, notify your bank before doing any more shopping. Given that it’s the holiday season, chances are it’s lost in your purse or winter jacket pocket. But, if it’s a worst-case scenario, you want to minimize the damage as much as possible (if not completely).
- Put Your Purchases in the Trunk: Leaving your purchases visible in any of the passenger seats can increase your risk of theft. To be safe, put as much of your purchases in the trunk. You can cover them with a sheet or blanket, too! That way criminals are less likely to entertain the thought of breaking into your car.
- Find Your Keys Before Walking to the Car: While you’re still in the mall, find and hold your keys before you leave. Looking down and fumbling through your purse makes you an easy and distracted target for someone trying to commit a crime with minimal resistance.
- Lock Your Car Doors the Moment You Get Inside: Once you’ve successfully finished your holiday shopping and made it back to your car safely, lock your car doors. Yes – even before you buckle up and put the keys in the ignition. This is the proverbial safety “cherry on top.”
Candy Making Tip
Two of the most important parts of candy making are the quality of ingredients and reaching the exact temperature to ensure a delicious candy! “The Best Candy Thermometers: What You Need to Know” is an excellent read if you’re thinking of making candy for the holidays!
Fitting in Movement During the Holidays
With busy schedules, especially during the holiday season, it can be difficult to prioritize physical activity during the week. What steps can you take to fit in movement during the busy holiday season?
Keep these tips in mind:
- Be as physically active as any health conditions, injuries or disabilities allow. Refer to these resources to find activities that work for you: Get More Information About Physical Activity >>
- Increase your activity levels gradually to meet the recommendations from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.1 Take into account where you are now, where you want to be, and increase your activity over time.
- Take a few minutes on the weekend to look at your upcoming week.
- When can you fit some physical activity in? What days and times?
- Do you have time for longer sessions (> 30 min) or do a few shorter sessions (10 – 20 min) fit your schedule?
- Can you plan for 7 minutes? Try this 7-minute workout to break up your day
On busy days packed with meetings and evening commitments, can you wake up 30 minutes early to go for a brisk walk first thing in the morning?
- Check the weather forecast and plan any outdoor activities accordingly.
- Are there opportunities to engage your household and/or family?
- Suggest a family walk after dinner
- Walk around the room or do stretches or squats during TV commercial breaks
- All movement does not have to “look” like a workout.
- Park further away from store entrances when shopping or running errands
- Opt to take the stairs instead of elevators.
Household chores contribute to your physical activity minutes.
Every day and every week does not have to be perfect. Do what you can to add in a little more movement throughout your day and plan for longer bouts of activity as your schedule allows. The important thing is to keep moving!