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Jim Walker: More stress in stockings

Don't Take Me Seriously

Posted: December 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Now, if your mother-in-law is getting out of prison this Dec. 23 and, of course, coming to live with you at this time, you’d have to consider this momentous event to be additional holiday stress. As if Christmas shopping, seasonal dining, too many commitments and general life-in-a-pressure-cooker weren’t enough, now you have to deal with a freeloading misanthrope who, you know, deserved her sentence and who, you are sure, has not been rehabilitated.

But, as you are loading the family safe with all the loose jewelry, fine porcelain figurines and catnip, you take some comfort in knowing this extra stress was forced upon you. You didn’t willingly invite it. (Well, you did marry a woman you met while she was hitchhiking to visit her mom in the joint.)

However, there are those of you out there – and you know who we are – who have deliberately thrown open your arms to unnecessary anxiety during the holiday season.

Maybe you scheduled your participation in six seasonal gatherings between Dec. 24 and 25, with only a few hundred miles separating each of them.

In this, you might be considered adorably foolish.

Maybe you quit your job so you could enjoy the kids’ Christmas vacation with them.

In this, you should be considered a loving father.

Maybe you scheduled your jury duty for the holiday weeks, expecting to not be called in — and, of course, you were chosen to be on the “Miracle on 34th Street” jury, deciding, on Christmas Eve, whether the guy was Santa or crazy.

In this, you would be considered fictional, because there wasn’t even a jury.

Or maybe you really sought out stress, choosing to close escrow simultaneously on your existing home and your new home this week.

In this, you would be considered criminally insane.

In any case, there are those of us out here who are complete masochists, purposely scheduling life-altering events and decisions around Christmas and New Year’s, with the crackpot hope that, somehow, the sentiment of the season will chime in and make these turn out well, and that the new year will truly offer a new and positive beginning.

Beyond the shocked looks and peals of laughter your crises elicit from those who realize what you’re up to, the surest signs that you are taking on too much are the increasing tightness in your chest, the twitching in your left eye, and the fact you’re panting like a hot kitty cat.

Just for atmosphere, let’s take a look at how few are the major events in history that were scheduled for the Christmas season — and turned out well.

First, of course, is Jesus’ birth. While you can debate what time of year it actually happened, whenever it happened, it was automatically Christmas time. You can’t have one without the other. Though some may disagree, I figure this event turned out pretty well, so kudos to the guy who took a chance planning it.

Then, of course, there is George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River to attack Trenton on Christmas Eve, 1776. George got lucky here, and it was a big success — but I hear he was having trouble breathing that night, and it is well known the return crossing suffered because all his boys drank captured Hessian rum to relieve their stress.

Here, I run out of positives….

The only other holiday season biggie I can think of was the Battle of the Bulge, and this did not go well for the Germans, who planned it. In fact, no one really had any fun with it.

As those with some sanity realize, there are countless stress-inducing things you might schedule for the holidays that would probably be better planned for some other time. A few of these would include:

- job interviews,

- high school reunions, 

- interventions,

- weddings, 

- marriage proposals, (Though the season is sentimental, it is rhymed that shopper’s stress won’t help get a “yes.”)

- kitchen remodels,

- flash mobs, 

- plastic surgery and

- coming out.

I’m sure you can think of many more. Remember, when the thought of it makes you itch, maybe it should wait until after the holidays. There’s enough stress in your stocking already.

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