Local Commentary

Editorial: Prepare for The Holidays

Like it or not, the holiday season is upon us. Plans are being made and in many cases already finalized for all the events of the next month and a half, and levels of anxiety associated with the pressure to make sure a good time is had is already driving up blood pressures among many in our midst.

Our advice is to take is easy. We live in an affluent community with high expectations imposed on everyone for the very best of this and that. Dinner parties, ideal gifts, outwardly (at least) happy families and smiling faces place unusual pressure on folks who already tend to be overbooked.

Let this serve as a reminder that there is absolutely nothing wrong with going minimalist when it comes to all the expectations of the season. Life is about living with joy and sharing love, and any time undue stress interferes, it is to the detriment of that big picture. And by the way, expectations are often fueled by their supposed beneficiaries, too. By that we mean that those on the receiving end of all the extra effort put into the holidays should chill out and make it very clear to whatever loving person is being driven to distraction to please them that such efforts are really unnecessary.

A helpful and cautionary statement by State Del. Marcus Simon touches on such things, too. The holidays, sad to say, usually lead to an escalation of incidents of domestic violence, as well as depression and suicide.

Moreover, when there is a gun is in the home, as Del. Simon cites, the chances of a very unhappy outcome really escalate.

However, Del. Simon apologizes for the fact that domestic violence and gun violence “is not an immediate concern and doesn’t affect the daily lives” of “the majority of the readers” of his column. On the contrary, that view reinforces the misconception that in relatively well-heeled communities, these issues are not nearly as prevalent.

We know from our quarter-century serving the City of Falls Church with a weekly newspaper that this is not necessarily the case at all. Occasionally we catch a glimpse of the inside of homes in this community that do not show exemplary behaviors at all. Here in The Little City, people struggle with violence, or the threat of it (which is just as bad), depression, suicidal thoughts, and infidelity, child abuse and neglect and shocking insensitivity just like everywhere else.

The anxiety created by the holidays can be accelerated by the fact that extra pressure to cover up these factors strains the psyche in unhealthy ways. So, the goal should be to minimize the chasm, if there is one, between the image one seeks to create and the reality behind it.

Remember, the real subject of the holidays is love, and often love thrives the best when all the facades are down.