One sure way to comfort yourself is to comfort someone else. The joy of “making someone’s day” is priceless. Especially satisfying if you can make a grumpy face smile ear to ear. I know this feeling well because my secret challenge when confronted by someone who looks like they’re having a really bad day is to elicit a smile. Even if their grump reflects a really bad year, any bright spot helps.  

For many, this time of year isn’t all about smiling faces, warm fuzzy feelings, or the friends clinking glasses that the media portrays. Real people often feel very alone. Maybe they suffered some kind of a loss and this is their first Christmas since, or maybe they don’t have family or friends available to celebrate with. Life could be in the toilet for them, all amplified by the season, but there’s surely some way to lift spirits if theirs are going south for the season. 
This year has been especially stressful for me. We moved to a new town just as the holiday hoopla began, and I’ve been especially distracted and mentally overwhelmed. I’m thankful that my heightened stress is temporary, but embarrassed to admit that I could be so easily distracted from what matters to me most — people. My dear sweet husband, terrific children and their children, special friends and, really, people I barely know. 
Thinking about the faces of the people that matter in my life brings me back and eases the stress I feel from the holiday culture. Just look at this snowflake display on my son’s living room window. As a family they painstakingly cut folded sheets of paper into this awesome display. I am still mystified by how that folding trick works. Oh, I get the mechanics of it, but how do you decide where to cut?

Happy — stressless — holidays to all.