Tag Archive for: holiday stress

‘Tis the Season

By AB Plum

A few weeks
ago, a friend told me jubilantly, “The date’s set.”

December 3—the date for her husband’s hip-replacement surgery.

waited for over six weeks for a definite date … 
because of Thanksgiving and the approaching year’s end. A scheduled time
was still up in the air.

And that
detail was driving her husband crazy. He was fretting over every possibility.

  • ·       
    if the hospital set the time and then changed it?
  • ·       
    if they had to arrive at oh-dark-thirty?
  • ·       
    if the time got postponed after they arrived at the hospital?
  • ·       
    couldn’t the surgeons change their routine practice of epidurals and put him
  • ·       
    if he became nauseated after the anesthesia?
  • ·       
    if he couldn’t manage the post-surgical pain?
  • ·       
    would she get him from the car into their ground-floor apartment?
  • ·       
    if they couldn’t manage the shower without help?
  • ·       
    if his adult kids didn’t understand why they couldn’t travel for Christmas?
  • ·       
    if he was totally immobile during the holiday?
  • ·       
    would he get his Christmas shopping done?
  • ·       
    disappointed would everyone be because he couldn’t smoke the turkey?
      Somehow, the
fretting didn’t drive my friend nuts.
(Her patience borders on saintly). She said part of what helped her stay
centered was avoiding the non-stop Christmas ads and parties and implied demands
that Christmas required a nine-course dinner with twenty guests and a house
decorated by Martha
and a new BMW or
Lincoln or Range Rover parked in the driveway as the gift
du jour.

My friend’s
husband came through the surgery with no problems. He’s exceeding expectations
with the physical therapist who comes to their home twice a week. He manages
the pain with a third of what his surgeon allowed.

His fretting
about Christmas gifts and the Christmas dinner and decorating the apartment takes
center stage fewer and fewer hours of every day. To keep my friend’s stress
manageable, they’ve agreed on thirty minutes or so of fretting-debrief after
she comes home each evening. She’ll unpack a few ornaments this weekend while
he makes eggnog and queues up Miracle on
34th Street.
‘Tis the
season to fret because social and mainstream media never let us think we can finish
everything that needs to be done. Stress—the noun equivalent of fret—piles up
as we struggle to be perfect. Running faster and faster blocks the question:
This year
I’m downshifting. I’m a reluctant shopper at best, but I’m boycotting Amazon.  Too easy to succumb to buying more stuff. I’ve contributed to favorite charities
to honor the people on my list who really don’t need more stuff.

And, I’ve
decided on a unique gift for a couple of family members and friends. I got the
idea from Through Rose-Colored Glasses, the
February release of my second Ryn Davis mystery. Check out the book if you’re

wishing one and all a fret-free season—or as close as you can get to fret free.


AB Plum
lives, writes, and plays just off the fast-lane in Silicon Valley. A broken
hand in October caused a bit of fretting about getting her second Ryn Davis
mystery to market, but she’s ready to hand [pun intended] off the ARC and
feeling light as snowflake and ready to enjoy the holidays.