It's what drives many of us to the end of our wits during the holiday season. It's what makes many of us depressed and panicky between Thanksgiving and New Years. It's what drives mom to the madhouse and pop to the poorhouse once a year.
When it's time for New Years resolutions to get written and stuffed in a drawer, many of our lists will contain a telling line: Take it easy next December.
It'll be forgotten by then, sadly, and many of us will go nuts, decorate too much, address too many holiday cards, bake too much, try to accept as many invitations as we can, party too much, spend too much, worry too much, eat too much, fret too much.
We climb on the stress train almost without realizing it, then wonder why we're physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted by New Years Day. We want things to be perfect for our families, our friends, our selves, so we go overboard. We overextend for 1/12th of the year, then spend the next eleven months wondering why we're secretly dreading the holidays.
"But we've always opened a huge pile of presents under the tree at 8 PM on Christmas Eve, then driven through the drifts to grandmother's house for caroling, cookies and more presents and a huge dinner!" We do a lot of this in the name of tradition.
Maybe it's time for some new traditions.
file under holiday stress