Holiday Experts

Note to Editors: Colorado State University has several experts you may want to interview for stories about the holidays and the new year. Listed below are faculty members with topical expertise. For more information, contact June Greist or Dave Weymiller, media and community relations, (970) 491-6432.


Get the holiday weather forecast from Nolan Doesken, research associate in Colorado State’s atmospheric science department and assistant state climatologist. Doesken has a chart available that shows the chances for fresh snow and chances for snow remaining on the ground on Dec. 24 and 25. Doesken’s chart is available through the media and community relations department at (970) 491-6432. For more information, contact Doesken at the Colorado Climate Center, Colorado State University, (970) 491-8545.


Holiday foods and accessories can be dangerous for pets, and Deborah Greco, associate professor of clinical sciences at Colorado State, says human companions need to be alert to the threats that chocolate, tinsel and ornaments pose to their pets. Greco warns pet owners to keep all gift food out from under the Christmas tree. Fatty food gifts such as salami and cheese are hard for animals to digest, and baker’s chocolate can be fatal to small and medium-sized dogs. Cats are attracted to holiday ornaments such as tinsel and decorative lights. If ingested, tinsel and glass fragments will cut a pet’s stomach lining. Contact Greco at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, (970) 491-1243 or (970) 221-4535 until Christmas.


New Year’s resolutions that include a healthful diet and regular exercise routine often are broken, says Jennifer Anderson, professor of food science and human nutrition at Colorado State. Anderson explains that resolutions usually are too broad and don’t focus enough on small, specific actions. For example, an individual making a general resolution to eat a low fat diet would be more successful by resolving to always buy skim milk. Somebody who resolves to eat a well balanced diet may do better by resolving to eat a banana on the way to work or bring a can of fruit juice to drink at the office. A person who feels bad about not going to the gym three times a week could instead resolve to take three 10-minute walks every day. Anderson asserts that making small, action-based resolutions like these builds self-esteem and can lead to life-long lifestyle changes. Contact Anderson at (970) 491-7622 or (970) 484-6849.


There are a lot of reasons why holiday red and green can turn people blue, says Charles Davidshofer, director of the University Counseling Center. One is unrealistic expectations: family gatherings may generate more stress than togetherness, for example, and having too much to do and too little time can wear on spirits, he said. To lessen feelings of depression and anxiety, people need to focus on what’s most important, plan realistically and not look back on what "should have been." For more information on holiday depression, call Davidshofer at the Counseling Center at (970) 491-6053.


Most families have picked out a tree by now, but how can they keep it fresh, healthy and safe from fire and other hazards? And for that matter, besides "a Christmas tree," what kind of tree is it? James Klett, professor of landscape horticulture and director of the W.D. Holley Plant Environmental Research Center at Colorado State, can talk about the characteristics of popular trees sold in (and in some cases native to) Colorado and explain how to prolong their indoor life. For more information, call Klett at (970) 491-7179.