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Want a Stress-Free Christmas? Stop Saying How Stressful It Is!
I know a 41-year-old man named Alex, whose heart is so big and full of love, that one day, I fear, it may just pop.
He's not in the best of shape. In fact, he's quite ill. Chronic myeloid leukemia has taken a mighty toll on his body. He's in such poor condition that he believes this holiday season may very well be his last. And so, he is making it known to everyone he loves, this Christmas is going to be the very best one ever.
He can barely walk anymore and his hands are shaky. But that's not going to stop him from teaching his 8-year-old daughter how to make homemade hot cocoa with marshmallow crème.
And before Christmas day arrives, Alex plans on doing what he does every year: make candy, brownies, chocolate fudge and peanut butter cookies for friends and family. And we'll call him so he can hear us react over the phone, as we open the box that traveled long distance and glom down our first delectable bites.
These simple pleasures, they mean everything to us. And we figure, if Alex can put away his troubles, then it should be easy enough for us to follow his glorious lead.
But for too many of us, we've gotten into a chic habit of bitching about the season. For every TV commercial that touts the season of joy, there's a collective joyless echo: "I hate the holidays! I can't wait until it's January."
The only reason we're all so frazzled by the time the holidays come around is because we have forgotten what we're celebrating. Somewhere along the way, we have gotten lost and fallen into a pattern of complaining. We spend all our time saying how stressful the holidays are because we think we have just that: all the time in the world.
But we don't. All we have is now. And now is the time to rejoice. Just ask Alex.
"God, when will this season be over already?"
It's Christmas. Just like it was when you were 5 and you got that set of pale blue, nylon pajamas -- the ones that made you so happy. Christmas. Remember? You looked into the starry night sky and you saw Santa. You saw him. You didn't doubt it. You saw the sparkly lights and the over-the-top crazy displays in your neighborhood and you loved it. You adored the music and the purity of it all. You loved how it took over everything ... you even got out of school, because of it!
Remember how the stores featured fantastical window presentations with animated figures? Remember seeing the "The Nutcracker" for the first time and watching the annual rerun of "A Charlie Brown Christmas?"
So, don't worry if things don't get done. Or if that "Need for Speed" video game doesn't make it into little Johnny's stocking this year. Or the only bank that will allow you a withdrawl this season is the Food Bank.
Relax. Take in the joy. It's Christmas. And the time is now. Be like Alex.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.