Forget the Experts’ Warnings about Christmas and Just Enjoy It

‘Tis the season of lights so we can just lighten up a little?

What’s supposed to be a festive time full of joy and good fellowship starts drooping like a dried out poinsettia when we’re subjected to the annual overdose of warnings and advice about stress, loneliness, overeating, anxiety, family dysfunction, dangerous driving, toxic trees and rampant disease.

It’s not the grinch who stole Christmas.

It’s the experts.

Experts on nutrition, experts on allergies, experts on etiquette… .

Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers …

Read all the advice from the experts and you’d think we were facing a doomsday scenario instead of a jolly holiday season.

“Fresh trees, scented air fresheners and live plants make the holidays miserable for many,” warns the Loyola Health System website.”Never use scented candles or home fragrance oils.”

Beware the poinsettia!

“The moist soil encourages the growth of mold…breathing mold spores causes air passageways to swell, which restricts airflow. It can even cause skin rashes.”

A live tree? Not so fast.

“A freshly cut tree can wreak havoc on your airways and nasal passages. The water in the tree holder also grows stagnant and collects mold.”

Artificial trees aren’t much better.

“Artificial trees and holiday decorations can grow mold if they get wet, as they often do in humid basements or attics. Decorations used to adorn the tree may also be dusty, scented or carry irritants.”

Do not, however, get too anxious about all this because “anxiety has been shown to increase asthma symptoms.”

We’re also reminded once again that more people die of heart attacks in December and January than any other time of the year.

Also that eggnog can go bad, Christmas cookies cause weight gain, turkey stuffing can cause salmonella poisoning and flu season is upon us, looking severe and with no effective vaccine.

Online, Plymouth Community Health Care UK lays it all out like a blanket, a very wet blanket:

“Financial and time pressures, isolation and family tensions, tiredness, general over-indulgence, lack of exercise, gritting your teeth through office parties and dreading the 24 hours with your parents…”

Just in case you missed any misery, the UK team piles it on: “an overload of people, alcohol, food, spending and over-excited children.”

But they don’t want you to feel alone in your suffering: “Christmas can be a stressful and depressing time for many. Most of us suffer from stress at Christmas.”

It only gets worse:

“People who spend weeks worrying about Christmas can suffer a breakdown in their immune system, leaving them susceptible to colds, while eating fattening foods, taking less exercise and stressful situations between family members can really take its toll.”

Tips for “surviving a family Christmas” and “making it through the holidays unscathed” litter the internet. Surviving? Unscathed? What are we talking about here? The festive Christmas season or the streets of Kabul?

But hang on! There actually is no hard evidence that the season brings so much suffering,

In fact, it’s just the opposite.

Happiness indexes based on surveys consistently show that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are indeed the happiest days of the year.

So to the doomsayers, we say bah! humbug!

And to everyone else, to one and all, we say have a very merry Christmas, a joyeux Noel and a happy New Year!

christmas-retro