Take a breath. Another one. Another one.
Take a moment to notice on the calendar what day you are in. Smile as you exhale and realize: it's not Christmas. It's not Hanukah. Not Kwanzaa. Not New Year's. It's today, some time in autumn, likely, when you are reading this.
Now, look at the week of the holidays. Notice what happens inside your belly. Your shoulders. Your thoughts.
Rest in the possibility that it is just another day, dressed up in stress and expectations.
Now, imagine half the things you Should be or Should be doing for the holidays and let them go. Imagine there is only one important thing about the holidays: the spirit of giving. The miracle of whatever you believe in.
That's it. The rest? Optional. Question your assumptions -- what you expect of yourself, of others -- long before the holidays.
And if you must shop, give to charity. Survivors of Superstorm Sandy need so much, not just for Christmas, but for survival. You can click here for donations to the Red Cross. Or perhaps send a flock of baby chicks to a third world village through Heifer International. Or give a gift of inner peace, with a Jizo for a loved one -- to get you grounded, whatever the season, whatever life's circumstances.