Indeed, Christmas may be hazardous to every breathing adult. Especially parents. But, please note we are not talking about a bodily health situation where you can call the doctor and get the latest antibiotic; or perhaps sign up for the latest surgery.

No, we are talking severe, irreversible, permanent, mental health issues.

No one knows who quite coined the profound statement, “Christmas is for kids.” But underneath for sure was a harried Christmased-out mother. Now don’t call me a Scrooge yet. I know every mom at some point has wanted to outlaw Christmas. However they’re just afraid of the repercussions, and possible mutiny and desertion of their kids.)

I know there are so many wonderful customs and traditions connected with this holiday to beat all holidays. However, some of us have let them grow beyond anything resembling normalcy.

One of the ever-increasing traditions that’s attached itself to Christmas is this sending of cards. My list started when I was a clueless newlywed with an enjoyable, manageable, list of around twenty people. Somehow, this list turned into an unmanageable ridiculous, unbelievable list of around 1,999. But, what would the fun be to send cards only to people you know? And if I didn’t send cards, what would I ever do sitting around the pool in July and August?

If I stop sending cards my postmaster tells me they’d have to close my local branch in December. If I was ever brave and smart enough to stop writing cards on my vacation-what would I ever do instead? (Maybe relax and have some fun without ink stained fingers!) Then I wouldn’t get to meet strangers around the world who thank me for the Christmas cards I’ve sent.

But Christmas is really wonderful! And it always seems to bring out the best in everybody. My garbage men are proof. Eleven and one-half months of the year, they are the phantom crew. They won’t collect anything that’s not rolled, bagged, tied, marked, categorized, labeled and has a bow on. It has to be on the right day, at the right hour, and in the precise spot. Or they pass you by grinning and waving.However—two weeks before Christmas they sweetly come to the door asking if there is anything special they can do (how about taking the garbage!!!) It’s the Christmas spirit they say. However, I say it’s called set up and strategy for “The Christmas Tip.”

One of the most health defying, emotionally challenging and pocket-draining traditions, is of course The-Christmas-Shopping For-The-Kids! You spend half a year’s salary (next year’s that is). A whole year’s energy trying to find exactly what the dears asked for.

Then comes “the morning”. (P.S. Why is that all year long you can’t get them out of bed for school with a bomb, but on Christmas when you are beyond exhausted—they get up at 4:30???)

My five year old sits on his mountain of the newest, most innovative, and costly gifts-and what is he playing with? He is bouncing his worn out $5 Spalding ball (off my wall that is.)

My sweet and dear thirteen year old daughter moans this is her worst Christmas yet. (Poor dear, all she got was 97 presents.) How can she possibly face her friends without a genuine monogrammed psychedelic $1,000 Gucci bag?

Then there is my fourteen year old son who stands silent and suffering. When prodded, he replies, “I was so sure I was getting my sold gold Porsche. How can I go back to school with only a one of a kind Super Deluxe motor Bike? (And he doesn’t even drive yet–except us crazy.)

Who says the afterglow of Christmas doesn’t last? Sure it does. I know. I’m still picking up pine needles and tinsel from my rug in June.

However. In spite of what everyone, including me and my family have done to Christmas–it is still my favorite holiday. How could we ever live without the true meaning of Christmas? It carries me through the year as I hear the echo – “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:10-11,14 NKJV)