Celebrating Christmas without My Stressy Bessie Doll

The little girl’s doll — and the little girl, and Santa as well — are calm, quiet, and peaceful. Christmas Story original oil painting by Steve Henderson; click on the image to watch the YouTube video of the painting being created.

If there were such thing as a Stressy Bessy doll, she would look like me.

The Son and Heir says that I focus on minutiae: “Remember when we vacationed on the beach and I wanted to climb those 25-foot rocks? You freaked out.

“I mean, really, if I’d fallen, I would have hit the sand — or the water, if the tide were in.”

College Girl focuses on driving situations: “Yeah, it was snowy and the car was slipping and sliding a little, but you’re going so slow on the highway because of the fog and the ice and the traffic, it’s not like you’d get really hurt or anything if you crashed. You’d just crunch up the car.”

There’s Only So Much That We Can Control

The Norwegian Artist has lived with me for years obsessing about the rising electric bill, the rising property tax bill, the rising health insurance premiums, the rising car tabs, the rising food prices — none of which are accompanied by rising wages.

Everything gets paid; everything works out; and there’s only so much that you can control, he points out.

She didn’t drop the angel, the tree didn’t fall down, Santa didn’t trip. The things we worry about often don’t happen. Little Angel Bright original oil painting; click on the image to see the YouTube video of how this painting was created.

So it was with relief that I joined four other women at a Christmas tea where one of them mentioned being unable to sleep at night because she was . . . stressing. She felt as if there were something wrong with her.

Immediately, we all dumped our collective stories and coping strategies in her lap.

“Do not attempt to analyze anything at 3 a.m.,” we advised. “Your analytical hormones or enzymes or chemicals or whatever shut down around 6 p.m., along with your body.”

“When life slaps you in the face, it stings. If you didn’t feel it you’d be a mannequin. That’s another word for a dummy.”

“It’s okay to ask God what the hell He’s thinking. If your husband can survive the question, so can God.”

I Don’t Stress about Christmas

Mercifully, the one thing I do not stress about and never have is Christmas.

Time out for good book (or list), some cookies, and the cat is an inexpensive, and worthy, stress reducer. The Christmas List, original oil painting by Steve Henderson. Click on the image to see all of Steve’s Christmas paintings on the Steve Henderson Fine Art website.

Crowded stores don’t bother me because I’m not in them.

We buy a limited number of reasonably priced gifts for a limited number of people and don’t worry about the rest of the world. Cheap? Throughout the year, I tip waitresses and hotel maids — because I know what it’s like to serve and clean; I don’t bother with the valet who parks the car because I’m married to him.

Parties are with friends who don’t own black sequined little black dresses or casual tuxes; we eat, laugh, and enjoy one’s company in December the same way we do in April. If we choose to gift one another it’s generally something sweet in a round tin, and there is no obligation to match, present for present. That’s why we’re friends.

Peace, Goodwill toward All, and No Stress

There is absolutely nothing about the Baby in the manger, the star over Bethlehem, or the shepherds in the fields that demand excessive spending, drinking, dressing, obsessing, wrapping, decorating, or stressing.

Given that, throughout the year, there are actual, verifiable things to stress about, it is counterproductive to take a holiday that promotes peace, grace, love, and goodwill toward men and turn it into something requiring psychoanalysis.

The most stressful thing about Christmas is that it is wrenchingly

Gifts don’t have to be elaborate to be meaningful. These Gifts Are Better Than Toys original oil painting by Steve Henderson. Click on the image to see the YouTube video of how this painting was created.

lonely for some. This, we can do something about, and it doesn’t require money, little black sequined dresses, or caloric canapes.

Time — the Ultimate Gift

It just takes time — the gift that costs no money, that heals all wounds, that marches inexorably on.

And at Christmas, this Time — which regularly consists of 24 hours in each day — can either speed up or slow down as we determine to fill it up with stress-inducing activities and obligations, or . . .

Stop. Just stop.

And breathe. Smile. Laugh. Love. Give. And give thanks.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

This article was originally published in 2010 by the author. The subject matter is timeless enough that I figured it was worth revisiting.

One of the biggest stresses in most people’s lives is money — or the lack of it. No matter what you make, you can learn to use it more wisely, and my book, Live Happily on Less, walks you through how to do this. Why not consider this as an early, inexpensive gift for yourself? Paperback $12.99, digital Kindle $5.99, borrow for free on AmazonPrime.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7

About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She writes about life, art, and the art of life.
This entry was posted in Art, blogging, Christmas, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Encouragement, Family, holiday, home, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, News, Personal, santa, shopping, Uncategorized, YouTube and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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