Editor’s Note: I hope you like reruns. I published this post last year, but it contains information worth repeating.


Nurse Hilary is on a quest. She’s teaching people how to survive the holiday season. See Hilary talking to the doctor? He’s feeling blue, and she’s trying to lift his spirits.

Many people think Ebinezer Scrooge was right. “Christmas-Bah-Humbug!” How, you may ask, can anyone enjoy the holidays? Do you spend too much money during the holidays, visit relatives you can’t stand, and get stressed out while planning the perfect holiday party? To those of you who believe that the holidays should be outlawed, take heart. Nurse Hilary is here to tell you how to get through the holidays without loosing your mind.

Unfortunately, the holidays can be a lonely and stressful time of year, but there are ways of beating the blues. Setting realistic goals and priorities can keep the holidays from spinning out of control. Don’t get carried away with buying gifts. Happiness doesn’t come from a gift-wrapped box. Nurse Hilary thinks that the holidays have become too commercialized. She’s afraid that one day we will see commercials where Joseph tells Mary, “We’re going to have the baby in the stable. The inn-keeper won’t take American Express.” Parents go deep into debt while trying to create the perfect Christmas for their kids. Nurse Hilary says that this is not healthy. She encourages parents to keep the holidays simple, and to teach their children the true meaning of Christmas.

Family strife doesn’t disappear just because it’s Christmas time. Putting up a tree and covering it in tinsel won’t make hurt feelings and anger go away. Don’t feel compelled to spend time with people that make you miserable. If you are obligated to show up for a family function, say hello, have a glass of punch and one of Aunt Martha’s cookies, and then make a break for the door. You say you don’t have a family to visit during the Christmas season? Then make one of your own. Spend time with your friends, neighbors, or coworkers. Celebrate the holiday season with people who make you happy.

Don’t be a doormat. Practice saying the word no. “No, I won’t bake 200 cookies for your school Christmas party being held tomorrow.” “No, I won’t cook Christmas dinner for the entire family—again—by myself. I need help.” It’s all right not to be all things to all people. Set limits and celebrate a guilt-free holiday season.

The holidays may drive some people to drink, but over indulging in the Rum laced eggnog and other alcoholic beverages can lead to depression. Mixing alcohol with prescription or over the counter medications can be dangerous, and remember that drinking and driving is a fatal combination. If you have a holiday party, offer soft drinks and other nonalcoholic beverages. If guests become drunk, don’t let them drive themselves home. Call a taxi, let them spend the night, or have someone else take them home.

Nurse Hillary says it is possible to survive the holidays. She wishes you a happy holiday season.