Christmas Fear

By Amanda Tonoli 

Ah, can you smell the sweet smell of the semester coming to a close? I can’t. I actually can’t even breathe through my nose — of course I’m getting sick as the holidays approach. This happens every single year. A case of the sniffles and Christmas frequently come as a pair.

Why? High levels of stress often weaken the immune system, leaving more susceptibility to getting sick.

In “Home for the Holidays,” on WebMD.com, R. Morgan Griffin acknowledges that during the holiday season one is more likely to be stressed out by obligations of family members and making that third trip to Wal-Mart for a knick-knack that was forgotten earlier that day. And what does this stress do? It makes us sick.

It’s more than just stress; it is the overall season and weather changes, as well.

“It’s cold and flu season and your immune system is under assault. It’s getting dark earlier each day,” Griffin said. “You’re eating worse, sleeping less and drinking more. By the time the family gathering rolls around, you’re worn out, tense and fragile.”

Being together for festivities in this great season should be joyful. It is a time to appreciate one another. That’s all fine if you live in a dream world, but what are holidays actually like?

“Don’t put that red bulb next to my blue one, the color scheme doesn’t go.”

“You must’ve put the lights on wrong! The entire middle section is a black abyss.”

“Johnny apparently thinks his girlfriend’s family is way more important than his own.”

“Why did you spend more money on Brittany than me? I knew she was your favorite!”

All of this yelling, this idle yet obnoxious chatter, drives many to drink and dread the next holiday season before this one is even over. Going home for the holidays is way different than stopping over for a lunch or a weekend with Mom and Dad — it is a time to pull together, and cause tension so thick that even a ceramic knife as no hope of cutting through.

“It’s the monotonous sameness of family holiday gatherings that depresses them — the same faces, the same jokes, the same food on the same china plates,” Griffin said. “The holiday stress makes it harder to cope with your family than it might be at other times of the year.”

What people keep forgetting is that annoying relatives are not immortal, and someday they won’t be around to get on your nerves. Then your holiday will be a little quieter and a little sadder.

So before we chalk holidays up to being the equivalent of putting needles in our own eyes, we must remember to appreciate the good parts of the upcoming holiday festivities — no school, we get presents, sleeping in and sometimes it’s even fun to trash talk other relatives with your mom as it’s a bonding experience. Rather than directing your attention to the misgivings of the season of giving, focus on creating memories — because one-day memories of silly fights about what color tinsel to put where will be just that: memories.

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