How to have a stress-free holiday

By Leslie Silverman


Stress and the holidays. It’s what professionals call a “dialectic.”

How could the holidays possibly be causing anyone any stress? I’ve given up on putting up Christmas lights this year. I figure my neighbor has a 100-foot Santa sitting on top of the ginormous never ending blinking reindeer that bulges over the roof of his house.

His 176, yes I counted them, four feet candy cane alley sports several dozen snowmen each playing “Frosty the Snowman” 24 hours a day, each and every day between Black Friday and New Year’s Day.

It’s always snowing on his front lawn and the 300 Christmas bulbs that line his gutters make it look like I am living next to the Red Light District.

I clearly can’t keep up with him so I can cross one less stress off my holiday to do list.

Holiday parties—I stopped doing them years ago. Why, you might ask?

When they stopped calling them Christmas parties and started to call them holiday parties, I decided to take a knee and opt out. I don’t want to celebrate all the holidays; I merely want to celebrate the one and only holiday that matters this time of year—Christmas. One less obligation for me.

The good old Christmas tree. Well, that tradition went out in the 90s when Al Gore told me our climate was changing. I took this very seriously and bought myself a Prius and everything. I couldn’t very well continue to deforest the planet by having a live Christmas tree, could I?

And there was no way I was going to by a fake one. Just imagine how much energy was wasted manufacturing one of those. Not to mention the fact that it likely wasn’t made in the USA anyhow.

Mr. Gore changed my Christmas tree purchasing decisions with those two words: Global Warming. I now enjoy the easily, pre-decorated fashion of a modest poinsettia as my homage to the holiday.

The greatest source of my holiday stress used to come from buying presents.

I have to admit: this was hard to eliminate completely. The temptation to buy begins a month before Christmas and lasts straight up until Christmas Day.

Heck, I don’t even have to get in my car anymore to shop, but this holiday tradition has gone by the wayside for me just a few years back on a holiday run to the post office.

I was sending Aunt Bertha a fruitcake and waited in line at the Post Office for three hours. Yes, I waited in line longer than it took me to renew my driver’s license at the DMV that year. Longer than the average American football game.

I couldn’t do it any longer.

The insanity of waiting in line for 180 minutes, longer than the average running time for my favorite movie, and there was no way I was going to be use one of those other shipping guys, like Fed-UPS.

So I decided the best thing I could do was just not buy Christmas presents at all. No lines to buy, no going postal waiting to mail. Just simply no stress.

After all, isn’t that the best holiday present we can all have, a stress free holiday?