Holidays are for fun

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    dont have my holidays confused. I am I deliberately making my resolution now, in time for Christmas, not the New Year. Im going to be less serious.

    It all started when I sat down to write this editorial and the monthly decision about what to write began. Its the holiday issue, I murmured to myself. Ive got to write something profoundly meaningful-something with a message. I pondered the meaning of Christmas, Hanukkah, Santa Claus, and even the pagan festival of the Winter Solstice searching for inspiration. I read about different faiths and fables; I saturated myself with the legends surrounding the Yule log, the menorah, luminarias, and mistletoe. My goal was to write about the holidays as they have not been written about before. Charles Dickens move over, here comes Palmer with her own Christmas Carol.

    After hours of laborious reading on the meaning of every happening around holiday time, I decided that I was taking this entire season too seriously and dampening any festive atmosphere before it had a chance to begin. I was acting like most nurses-too serious. When I was a cardiac surgery clinical specialist I thought I had to be serious- dead serious-all the time. After all, the patients were gravely ill and it was no laughing matter, I had always been taught. But Norman Cousins proved that wrong in his books, Anatomy of an Illness and The Healing Heart. By relating how a sense of humor and a positive outlook helped him overcome serious illnesses, Cousins has changed much of that doom-and-gloom thinking.

    When I changed careers and began editing for the Journal I vowed Id never be so deadly serious

    again. I had exchanged cardiac arrests and postoperative bleeding for dangling participles and typeset galleys. I thought I would shed the solemn nature ingrained in me by nursing and become more carefree. Not so. Soon I began treating every layout design and typographical error as if it were a life-anddeath situation.

    As this years holidays approached, I rivaled Ebenezer Scrooge when it came to the editors deadlines, time off, and this editorial. I wasnt much fun and the holidays ceased to be carefree. My resolution could not wait until New Years Day. I decided to discard the bah-humbug approach before it spread and have some fun with the holidays.

    This year Christmas will be: renewing old friendships by writing the letters Ive put off all year; visiting family and friends who, although close by, I never find time to visit often enough; helping my husband, Don, decorate the tree with our old ornaments, each of which bring back some memory of past Christmases; buying and wrapping fun presents (not serious, useful ones); listening for the sound of Santas reindeers on the rooftop with my niece and nephew; roasting chestnuts by the fireplace with Dad, who will travel to Denver to be with us; and enjoying the peaceful spirit of the season.

    My wish for you is not original; it is not a profound message destined to be remembered along with the writings of Dickens. I wish you fun and I wish you laughter.