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“Are you ready for the holidays?” has (temporarily) replaced “How are you doing?” as a standard greeting among friends and acquaintances.

Just like I used to answer, “Just fine!” to the question about health, I also used to answer, “As ready as I’m going to be”, to the question about holidays. And truth be told, I still do,┬ábut if the inquiring person delves deeper into the subject, I get a bit more straightforward to the answers to both questions.

I don’t celebrate the holidays in the traditional manner (and I’m lucky to married to a terrific guy who shares my views). There are a lot of reasons for that which are immaterial to this post. My husband and I do have our traditions (this will be the 17th year to have oysters and beer for lunch on New Years — a repeat of our first date). There are a few seasonal rituals I observe — a few cards here, a small gift there, festive meals with friends — but it has more to do with enjoying friends and family that the date on the calendar.

But even if I did have an overwhelming, acute, incurable case of the holiday spirit, I think the season would still beget caution. My non-celebratory choices are a blessing because as one with a chronic disease with a primary symptom of fatigue, I don’t know how I’d manage otherwise.

Attitude of Gratitude recently posted about taking on too much — which is good advice any day of the year — but especially important during the holidays. With crazy schedules, potential travel, close encounters of the germiest kinds, and the weird things we do to our diet, it’s important to exercise common sense (if not downright restraint) in the areas we can control so that the holidays don’t result in flares, debilitating fatigue, over exertion or other less-than-joyful outcomes. We can’t share the joy of the season if we’re in bed with ice packs and pain relievers.

So please. Whatever traditions you and your family observe during this special time of the year, give yourself the gift of being able to enjoy them.

For myself, I will celebrate as I have for many years: with a star in my mind, a wreath in my heart, and mistletoe in my navel.

Here’s hoping the holidays are filled with love, joy, and health for you and yours. Thanks for checking in.