While we give - and receive - wishes for the happiest and merriest of days in the weeks to come, any of us over the age of 11 know the approaching days can also bring a great amount of stress.
Of course I am not talking to YOU but, should you just happen to know someone this just might possibly apply to, may I offer a couple of suggestions?
First, relax. Yes, as in R-E-L-A-X. Life, you know, need not be perfect and neither need you. The turkey probably isn't going to brown as beautifully as pictured in the magazine ad. Cakes may fall and (here, at least) my pie crusts approach black (not to mention hatchet hard) before the insides ever seem properly baked. The tree might not be as perfectly formed as you remember. (Heck! Even those blasted - if familiar - artificial ones can get bent out of shape.)
Think back to earlier holidays. I believe we all dream of the perfect times but, face it, what sticks in our memory is the disasters - and the laughter that one hopes does eventually follow.
Along similar lines, we all need to keep a tight rein on our expectations: of the occasion, of others and certainly of ourselves. You know, if we do expect too much, we inevitably end up disappointed and that, dear friend, can lead to resentment and anger just when we should want it all to be at its best.
And, speaking of impossible expectations, the advice always holds: get plenty of rest. Fatigue can sour some of the jolliest moments and none of us want to think to think about what it can do to the worst. Yet we all know, don't we?
As for those sour moments which none of us want but each faces sooner or later: it really does help to take a step back or even outside the situation. Detachment at times can serve a very useful purpose - particularly if we want to happily survive till the next holiday.
And, frequently, while we remain perfectly serene angels (yes! You and I), those around us may be more frazzled than they let on. (Or that we're too self-involved with our own survival to possibly notice.) If an offhanded remark seems aimed in our direction and wants to strike too close to home, consider the possible stress of the event and don't take it personally. Please.
Let's build up those grudges for another day. And that one need never come. Stick 'em in a drawer in your mind, shut it, and ... OK, you don't have to throw away the key but do tuck it where it'll be hard to reach when you come looking.
I'm beginning to sound like Scrooge which is hardly my intention. I truly am looking forward to this coming holiday and the ones quick to follow. If I'm smart, I'll forget my dreams of perfection and maybe settle for the wish that this Thanksgiving turkey not end up on the floor. Then again, five years later it's still one of my sharpest memories of any Thanksgiving. And, yes, all turned out well. I got the grease in the carpet cleaned up and laugh about it to this day - though still insisting (quietly, very quietly) that it wasn't only Minor who caused that calamity.
I picture for you what I wish for myself: good family and good friends, good gab and lots of laughter. And, should it get to be too much, follow a life-saving suggestion passed on to me by a wise friend: find a room where you can be alone and take a couple of minutes to regroup and count your blessings.
I'll top my list with gratitude that my quiet room has indoor plumbing. It gets cold outside!
Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org