You can already feel how insufferable your work holiday party is going to be. The thing you were planning to wear doesn't fit anymore. Your mother called and wants to go over the itinerary she's planned for your every second at home. Your Christmas tree projects more of a "sad small bush in sad small apartment" vibe than yuletide cheer. Your boss has assigned you a major presentation at work, which it would behoove you to ace if you want a decent year-end bonus. You're worried about your credit card balance. You're worried about a friend who's going through a hard time. You're worried about whether you'll ever have someone to bring home for the holidays. You're wondering with extreme annoyance how, amid all of this, anyone has time to bake.
Remember when the holidays used to be fun? Sure, you were a kid then, and someone else (probably your mom) did what you only now perceive to be a lot of work to make it magical (so listen to that itinerary as many times as she wants). It is possible, however, to get back a little of the magic.
You can view the holidays as a bloated version of your normal to-do list, or you can think of this as a time when you tune in to what is actually kind of magical about your life. We're not saying there aren't awful things happening around the world or that your presentation is going to put itself into PowerPoint -- just that it's possible to reframe that "Santa-Baby"-Toys-'R'-Us-mall-parking-lot-kill-me-now vibe by thinking about what actually matters -- even in the moments when it's so much easier to resent everything.
To help you and all of us do that, here are 31 things to think and do when your life is becoming the Nightmare on 34th Street: