Up until Thanksgiving: normal
Thanksgiving - December 1: guilty for eating too much, slightly fearful that the Thanksgiving feast was the starter pistol for an entire month of gluttony and sloth.
December 1 - 5: mild malaise, puzzlement about why (it's because the days are getting shorter)
December 6 - 10: deepening gloom, partly as a reaction to the (inappropriate) holiday decorations that are springing up everywhere
December 11 - 15: hysterical despair, arriving with the realization that you will never live up to your own or anyone else's expectations of what you're supposed to get done over the holidays: in addition to all your normal activities, which were keeping you sufficiently busy the rest of the year, there's shopping, wrapping, mailing and delivering presents; decorating the house; putting up the tree; holiday baking; additional social activities; the school program; the special church services; the company party; travel to visit family, hosting guests, and on and on. It is natural to panic at this point, because in fact you can never live up to the ideal in your mind.
December 16 - 21: Resignation and vacillation between moments of enjoyment (the lights are so pretty, the tree reminds you of happy childhood memories) and realism (the days are still getting shorter; will spring ever come?)
December 22 - January 1: frenetic attempts to revive the will to live--Party! Pray! Eat, drink, be merry!
January 2 - 5: Relief that the season is over, resolve to do better in the new year (the days are getting longer again! Whew!)
January 6 - 15: Return to normal routine
January 31: Exhausted happiness
So today is, what, December 14? Let me check my calendar. Yep, hysterical despair, I'm right on schedule.
Seriously, folks, let's not take this all to heart: do what you can, do what you feel like doing. For the rest, as a former co-worker liked to say, "Don't torture yourself."
I wish you a very
Happy New Year
a Winter Solstice to Remember.
And most of all:
PEACE ON EARTH,
GOODWILL TO MEN!!!