WSU Tip Sheet and Story Ideas
Enhance your coverage with expert resources
from Washington State University

Week of Dec. 19, 2001
Compiled by Susan Nielsen, WSU College of Nursing, 509/324-7372

The healthy side of pine: Debating whether to get a cut, live or artificial pine tree this year for Christmas? The positive effects of the scent of true pine oil may influence your decision. Smell is connected to the part of the brain that forms and retrieves memory. The lingering smell of pine may bring back memories of holiday gatherings with family and friends, but in addition to happy memories your body may be benefiting from the medicinal effects of this useful oil. The essential oil of pine is steam distilled from the needles and is effective in treating bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, and has been found to relieve both rheumatic pain and nervous exhaustion. A live tree can act as an air disinfectant with the scent of the needles able to help fight respiratory infections and coughs explains WSU College of Nursing Preceptor and Clinical Aromatherapist, Janis Burke. To reach Burke,, contact Susan Nielsen, (509) 324-7372, or Allison Kratt, communications writer, at (509) 324-7218,

Giving versus receiving—a child’s perspective: Parents frequently find the task of helping children appreciate the value of giving, rather than receiving, difficult. Washington State University Professor Janiece DeSocio recommends parents teach the meaning of Christmas through gift giving, offering a child balance during this exciting season. Parents can involve their children by looking for ways to help others as a part of experiencing a season of giving. Encouraging children to contribute toys, mittens or other items to a charitable cause provides perspective and appreciation for the greater needs in the community and society. To reach DeSocio,, contact Susan Nielsen, (509) 324-7372,

Kids misbehave during the holidays: Just like adults, children can experience the stress of the holidays. Routines such as bedtime, mealtime and familiar surroundings go out the window. The holidays change increase children’s anxiety, which can tend to create bad behavior. Parent stress from shopping, cooking or traveling can also trickle down to children, heightening tension for the family as a whole. WSU College of Nursing Assistant Professor Janiece DeSocio offers some helpful parenting suggestions to prevent and handle behavior changes. For example, give kids a “heads up” on upcoming events and activities. This will give children accurate expectations and increased security. Attempt to maintain as much routine as possible with meal times, bed times and nap times. To reach DeSocio,, contact Susan Nielsen, (509) 324-7372,

Bereavement and the holidays: The death of a family member, be it recent or years ago, often overshadows the joy and excitement of the holidays. Those facing their first holiday without a special family member or friend should not set expectations too high and remember that some holidays and traditions will not be the same. WSU Nursing Professor Jan Lohan suggests keeping a connection to the deceased by starting a new tradition in their memory–light a candle or create a special decoration in their honor. Anticipate depression and combat it by working in a soup kitchen, delivering meals or some other kind of volunteer work that gets you involved with others. During the holidays, expect to see behavior changes in children affected by a recent loss. To reach Lohan,, contact Susan Nielsen. (509) 324-7372, or Allison Kratt, communications writer, at (509) 324-7218,