I’m perched here on the brink of Halloween and it feels like the beginning of a roller coaster ride. I’m locked into my seat and we’re at the top of that first big hill. There’s no turning back. One way or another, I’ll get through the whirlwind of activities that clog our calendar during the next two months.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and Day. Hay rides, food drives, office parties, cookie exchanges, winter concerts, secret Santas. Theoretically, it would all be grand, except for my old friend, Ms. M.S. Fatigue.
One upside to the past year’s economic downturn is that it’s become fashionable to scale back. That’s good news for my energy level. And it enables me to act on my mantra, “Too much stress makes me a mess.”
For example, I’m not compelled to dig up the Bon Appetit recipe for the eleven ingredient Rustic Bread Stuffing with Red Mustard Greens (an oxymoron?), Currants, and Pine Nuts. And forget the recipe for Roasted Winter Squash and Parsnips with Maple Syrup Glaze and Marcona Almonds, which requires you to combine, melt, whisk, add, transfer, cover, chill, unchill, bake, uncover and sprinkle.
Let’s face it. Everybody loves Stovetop stuffing and green bean casserole with fried onions on top. And with that simple substitution, I’ve got fewer groceries to shop for, less to lug home, and I can sleep an extra two hours Thanksgiving morning.
While we’re on the subject of food, are you tasked with bringing an appetizer to an office gathering? If so, I’ve got one word for you—Velveeta. In case you don’t already have a favorite hors d’oeuvre recipe based on this orange-yellow delicacy, check the Kraft Foods website.
No jack-o-lantern carving for us. We plan on making those pumpkins do double duty for Thanksgiving. (Though I’m afraid some hungry-looking squirrels may have something else in mind.)
Inside the house, an attractive bowl of not-yet-shelled mixed nuts and a couple nutcrackers will decorate the coffee table all fall and on into the new year. It provides tasty (and relatively healthy!) snacks. Also, the shelling keeps guests occupied, so they’re not rifling through our personal papers looking for last year’s tax returns.
Why does the decorating ordeal have to be a one-woman-show? I’m turning the endeavor into a team effort. The only way the Christmas village comes out of the boxes this year is if my husband does it. (I happen to know he secretly loves that snow-laden, brightly-glowing ceramic wonderland.)
Presents? This is going to be the year of the wool socks. I’m giving them to everybody on my list! They’re warm. They’re comfy. They’re personal but not too personal. They’re available in a limited selection of sizes and colors, an absolute must for the indecisive shopper that I am. Perfect one-stop-shopping. And so easy to wrap. Stick in a bag; stick on a bow; you’re ready to go.
Holiday themed clothing has gotten out of hand. From Halloween socks to vests with an autumn harvest motif to the ubiquitous Christmas sweater or neck tie, the time has come to draw the line. In the words of Nancy Reagan, “Just say no.” (And if you wear any clothing that involves blinking lights, I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend therapy, but isn’t it time you step back and ask yourself, “What does this say about me?”)
With this plan in place I intend to emerge from the next two months well-rested and de-stressed. Energized and yet calm. No exacerbations or relapses and minimal symptoms. Check back in January.