It’s a paradox but true: helping others helps YOU. The satisfaction of making someone else’s life better, plus that time off your own worries feels fabulous. “Friends and family” is a familiar phrase. All those scenes of friends clinking and laughing together. All those smiling relatives exchanging gifts on Christmas morning. But not everyone has family that can or even wants to spend time together. Not everyone has friends that gather round. Media make it look like everyone is enjoying these heartfelt moments, but real people often feel very alone. If you know anyone whose spirits seem to going downward this month, or who might have experienced a major loss this year, consider reaching out somehow. You  may be crazy-busy lately, but feeling alone is magnified when you’re literally bulldozed by that media message. Making their season better will make your season better. And… for those of you with young children, remember that Santa is a stranger, and thrusting young children into that stranger’s lap — to be hugged — can be frightening. For your children’s sake, consider asking them first, or at least respect their reluctance and back off. Santa shots are not mandatory.