How do you survive the holidays? It's a time supposedly exploding with nostalgia, but the holidays seem to produce as much anxiety and woe as happiness.
I say this after going where all people of moderate intelligence go to form opinions -- the Internet. While scrolling through various websites after work Tuesday night, I noticed one recurring theme. Nearly every website had a story, a list, or some helpful pointers on "How to Survive the Holidays."
Is getting together with your crazy uncle and competitive sister really that much of a drudgery? Is answering a few questions from mom really that awful? Apparently so.
Forget about Norman Rockwell warmth. Forget about family moments in front of the fireplace. Gatherings with family come with warning labels now.
The Huffington Post posted a list entitled "7 ways to have less fear and more cheer." Among the tips, it was suggested to treat family gatherings more like business and less like pleasure.
CNN.com posted a story called "3 ways to emotionally survive visits with family during the holidays." Tip No. 1 was to manage your visit with very precise planning and attention to detail.
Health.com featured a list of popular holiday foods that should never, ever be eaten. The list included eggnog, fruitcake and pecan pie, all of which are said to be high in calories and fat.
Psychology Today's website said to rehearse answers to questions you're likely to field from inquiring relatives. The website said, "Come prepared with some canned responses." It even said "white lies can come in handy."
I also read a list of "99 ways to survive the holidays." Among items on the list were to: up the dosage, wear elastic waistbands, disinfect, and bite your tongue.
One of my favorite websites, Buzzfeed, provided 14 tips to help you endure tense holiday family time. Among its pointers, Buzzfeed said to make sure you also plan post-holiday time for yourself if you're going to have an "emotional hangover" from spending time with family.
In its tips, ABCNews suggested turning off Facebook, not just for family gatherings but for the entire holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas. "Close the door for one month and see what it brings to your everyday life. The spirit and feeling of the holiday season cannot be felt through the light of a computer screen."
After reading all of these so-called tips, I don't think they serve to usher in holiday cheer. I've never thought of treating time with my family like a business meeting. And I've never dreamed of passing on pecan pie because of the calories.
Upon further review, I've decided the best way to beat holiday stress is to avoid all these lists filled with advice that suggest I tell white lies and plan every moment.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.