I was forced several years ago to give myself a severe attitude adjustment… and it worked splendidly. The holiday pressure I felt this time of year, to buy buy buy, bake bake bake, was making me quite humbuggy. The stress I was making for myself disappeared when I bucked the norm by severely cutting back. These days I decorate just enough to make us smile, no long send out cards, bake family favorites only (lemon curd! and peanut butter kiss cookies!), and consider “personal and fun” gifts instead of “need and expensive” ones. The FUN part is essential!
All it takes is a trip to the mall to see what serious business the Season is. Apparently, many of us see giving as joyful as a tooth extraction. At least that’s what the mass of grim, determined faces means to me.
Plenty of folks are nuts for the holidays and love going all out, but the stress of the season — socially, financially, and emotionally — can be pretty debilitating. Especially, if you’ve had a major loss this year or don’t have the “family and friends” that the media emphasizes.

Thankfully, that little attitude adjustment made the holiday season way more pleasurable, for me and everyone who comes in contact with me. Shifting focus muffled the hoopla. And don’t forget, books make terrific holiday gifts. hint hint. (Emerging from the Heartache of Loss and A Patchwork of Comforts)