Thursday, December 1, 2011


A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. 
Garrison Keillor

We've had Black Friday, Red Monday, and last night they lit the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center here in New York, so I know the holidays are really kicking into high gear. No doubt, this can be a really wonderful time of year. Personally, it is my favorite. I love the spirit, the cheesy music (these are the only weeks I can fathom listening to Perry Como, Johnny Mathis or Bing Crosby), the gift-giving, all the cookies, spending time with families. Plus my birthday is in the middle of it (December 16), so it feels especially festive.  

The season can be very stressful though for those of us living with the challenges of MS. Holiday time raises all sorts of issues.  We may want to take part in the festivities but the reality is Christmas and Hanukkuh or Kwanzaa can bring with them their own special kinds of challenges.  And as we all know, stress and MS are a  detrimental combination.  

There are pressures to get everything done in time, to meet all the deadlines and such – oh no, will I remember everyone on my list, will I finish all my shopping, will I mail the packages to those far away, do I have sufficient help to get it all done? Even on-line shopping, so convenient for us MSers, can take a lot out of you. 

For me, the last two years were as fun as ever; that is until Christmas itself arrived and all of the running around, getting and decorating the tree, preparing Christmas cards, and build up to the day left me altogether depleted. I was wiped out, weak and ill, not the condition I wanted to be in, to be sure, for the big day.  

So I have made a promise to myself this year: to take it a little slower and not get stressed out about everything holiday-related. Things will work out, without the accompanying anxiety. I know my wife and kids will get their gifts, and there will be a well-deserved break between Christmas and New Year’s. So we have to hold on tight, drink a little egg nog, watch It's A Wonderful Life or the original A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim (my favorite), light the menorah should that float your boat, and enjoy the ride.  'Tis the season to be jolly.  No pressure.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Best Wishes,