don't want to be the Grinch but from where I sit, I see
a considerable amount of stress in this season. While
the original concepts of Peace on Earth and Universal
Love are not lost, they have become somewhat occluded
by modern culture.
10 primary stresses peculiar to this time of the year
range from the obvious to the obscure:
Recession stress: the discovery that the recession has
gotten to your bank before you could get to the store.
Gift guilt: the pressure to buy more gifts
than you really want to.
More guilt: the realization that the gift you gave is
never going to match up to the one you received.
Social stresses A and B: going to parties you'd rather
not attend and not being invited to the ones you really
want to go to.
Family stress: feeling overwhelmed and pressured
by guests and their expectations.
Isolation stress: not having anyone around when the
rest of the world seems engaged in arm-in-arm caroling.
Perfection stress: struggling against an impossible
schedule to make everything absolutely perfect.
Reality stress: when nobody notices how perfect you
have made everything.
Self-abuse: when you keep noticing the one thing you
forgot to do.
Resolution stress: trying to start over again in the New
Year—incredible odds built up by prior years.
are some serious suggestions for dealing with some of
the more difficult stresses.
This is probably the worst one. If you know someone who
might be alone, go out of your way to involve them in
some aspect of your season. Depression at this time of
year frequently comes from the comparison of one's life
with the omnipresent expectations of family togetherness.
Extending your hand in friendship could produce some results
. . . friends. If you feel lonely, volunteer to help some
organization that helps less fortunate people.
I wish there were some way to stem the tide of abject
consumerism, but alas, not only is this institution too
deeply enmeshed in our social expectations, it is also
this time of year that many businesses depend on. Notwithstanding,
consider these inexpensive, but, immensely thoughtful
a poem. Find a special quote, write it on fancy paper
and frame it inexpensively. Tape a collection of your
favorite music. Cook something. I may be the only one
who likes fruit cake so try something else. Or if you
have a special recipe, send it to me. Photograph something
special; blow it up and frame it. Put your thoughts and
feelings about someone you care for on nice stationery
and frame it.
After you have put your special something together, there
is something else very special you can do with it that
will make it stand out and have a lasting impression (I
hate to give out my secret, but this is the season, after
your gift in a piece of some interesting fabric. Even
a small piece of expensive fabric isn't that costly and
many stores have great clearance racks.
of fabric gift wrappings I have given have found their
way into many special places and that pleases me a lot.
This one is easy. Spotless cleaning, perfect table settings
and so on could be a sign of compulsive behavior. This
year , purposefully skip doing one thing, just to show
yourself that you control your own fate. Who you are with
is more important than how your house looks anyway.
these few thoughts in mind, I hope your season is a little
less stressful and a lot more peaceful. It may also be
a little more caloric, but we can't be perfect.