Well, would you look at that… It’s Christmas time.
The way we see it, there are just three types of folks this time of the year.
First are those who don’t care about the holiday.
Second are the fanatics who’ve been tapping their foot to Christmas songs since October.
And third are the folks who absolutely dread the season of giving, getting… and socializing.
Considering the great import of our Connections, we’ll focus on the latter this morning.
We shared a crazy statistic in our new health-focused e-letter recently (check it out here). There’s fresh data out that show heart attacks peak on Christmas Eve.
That’s right. Thanks to all the anxiety, the bad food, the booze and the unrealistic expectations of the season, we’re 37% more likely to drop dead from a broken ticker on Christmas Eve than at any other time of the year.
To be specific, the peak of this deadly “season of joy” comes at 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Nothing was stirring… not even his heart.
It’s not hard to see why the season is so painful to so many.
We blame those unrealistic expectations.
The Christmas movies get worse with each season.
Long-suffering singles find their soul mates. The sick find cures. Families wrap up in each other’s arms and sing songs long into the night.
There’s no mention of the newly divorced man ripped away from his kids… the lonely single mom… the broke… the hungry… the dying.
Reality has a hard time making an appearance on the screen, especially around the season of miracles.
Christmas songs, you’ll no doubt agree, are no better.
Try to escape them. We dare you.
Starting before Thanksgiving, radio stations race to be the first to dazzle us with jingles of sleigh rides to Grandma’s house and songs teasing us about long, cold nights with our girlfriend (who really doesn’t want to leave, by the way).
Again, for the folks just trying to make it through each day, getting through months of painted-on happiness is hell.
We blame lots of things. But mainly the commercialization of the holiday and the utter disappearance of the holiday’s true meaning come to mind.
In other words, we’ve somehow created a holiday of joy… that offers no hope for the miserable.
For those who still bow to the original meaning of the season, the irony is downright sad.
Despite the notion that our pragmatic view sometimes gets us labeled as grumpy or pessimistic, it’s our sensibilities that tend to help us get through situations like this.
So for our readers who won’t be spending the holiday with friends or family and for the folks who celebrate Christmas morning with a tear down their cheek as they realize the only present they’ll get will come wrapped in a decades-old memory… we offer these oh-so-humble words of advice.
First, forget all the crap.
If you’re religious, spend time relearning the true meaning of Christmas. Remind yourself that all the enchanted tales of children sitting on Santa’s lap… the lights of Christmas Wonderland… and the dancing reindeer are all part of commercial fantasy.
They’re not designed to bring families together, share a message of unity or celebrate anything of importance.
They’re designed to separate Americans from their dollars.
Only the folks at Amazon are celebrating the real Christmas miracle these days.
In other words, don’t try to block out the noise of the season. That’s impossible. It’s too loud. Instead, take it for what it really is… a farce.
Second, create your own traditions.
It’s your fellow man who tells you that you must gather under a tree on December 25 and celebrate gluttony.
You certainly don’t have to.
Perhaps you’d rather have your favorite meal… or maybe a lost loved one’s favorite meal.
A good long walk is always healthy, too. Our family aims to strap on our shoes every year. We’ve found the woods to be especially quiet and inviting.
And nobody ever got hurt spending a day volunteering and helping others.
Finally, and this is key, find somebody to talk to.
Tell them your feelings. Be honest, open and ask for feedback. We bet you’ll hear them echo your thoughts.
After all, feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression seem to be the newest tradition as we celebrate the holiday season.
In other words, if you feel sad, you’re not alone.
If there were ever a time of the year when our Connections are most vital, this is it.
After all, we have ample proof that the season and its Connection-destroying ways are killing folks.
That’s no good.
If you don’t have anybody else to share your thoughts with, our inbox never takes a holiday. Drop us a line and strike up a conversation. We promise a response.
A healthy Connection is our gift to you.