Don't worry. No one is having a perfect holiday. Not even Santa.
The latest trend is to get depressed around the yuletide. Part of it is that secular chic, a suspicion of anything that might remotely smack of sacred. But mostly it's that none of us have ever had that magical Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa/Solstice, and we're tired of wishing for it.
We've grown up on "It's a Wonderful Life" and the Hallmark Channel and each of us has secretly hoped for that last-minute holiday miracle, with the family gathered around the hearth, all our problems solved and a perfectly roasted turkey.
Only instead of the Walton's, we got the Bunkers. We got Aunt Bea drinking one Scotch too many and cousin Janey dropping the good china and Father Fusco preaching for so long at midnight mass that the altar boys fell asleep. And every year that our father's army regiment did not show up at a country inn in Vermont we each felt that we were the only misfit left on the island of toys. The snow always looked whiter on the other side of the fence.
Albert Einstein said that you either believe nothing is a miracle or everything is. So this year if the cinnamon rolls don't burn I'll call that my miracle. I'm focusing more on the charm and less on the magic.
Here's the cure for the holiday blues:
1. Do something good. It makes you feel so smug.
2. Hang out with a child, your own if you got one but if not, any child you can reasonably convince to call you uncle. If all else fails you may borrow mine.
3. Lower your expectations.
Only by thinking of this day as any other day can you make it the best day of the year. Enjoy the baby with the flu, the husband complaining that dinner comes in the middle of the big game and even the dog who is convinced that he needs to mark your indoor tree. Enjoy being part of humanity. Be the last person on your block to take down your tree.
May your holidays be flawed.
With a Perspective, this is Kevin Fisher-Paulson.
Kevin Fisher-Paulson is a captain with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department.