Egg noggin

All I want for Christmas is my two frontal lobes.

By this point in the holiday season, many of us feel as if we've had substantial portions of our brains removed. We have way too much to do and too little time to do it and our brains are full. Our minds shut down in order to cope and, before you know it, we're dancing the hokey-pokey at an office party while wearing tinsel in our hair.

It's easy to recognize the victims of the Yuletide Lobotomy. We shuffle through malls like zombies, trying in vain to choose the correct gifts, trying to even remember why we're shopping. We send Christmas cards and forget to sign them. We wander about with glassy eyes and slack jaws and evergreen needles stuck in our sweaters.

We've lost our minds and nobody will even help us look for them. They're all too busy going nuts with their own Christmas plans. Over the river and through the woods, to the loony bin we go.
No matter how well-prepared you thought you were, you'll slip into mental overload by the last few days before Christmas. Even if you're one of those who bought all your Christmas gifts in July (the rest of us, by the way, HATE you people), there'll be some last-minute detail that will push you over the edge. And then your brain will quietly implode.

This seasonal brain death results from too much stimulation. Holiday parties and television specials and toys ads and whining children and tangled Christmas tree lights and chirpy sales clerks and department store Santas and Salvation Army bell-ringers have clamored for our attention since Thanksgiving. All these stimuli conspire to send us scurrying about like lab rats, eager to please everyone we know. But we're too distracted by all the twinkling lights and shiny ornaments to find our way out of the Christmas maze.

As an example of these stimuli, take the omnipresent, mind-numbing Muzak. (Their motto: The world is our elevator.) By this time of December, we've all heard so many Christmas carols, we're humming them in our sleep. Everywhere we go, syrupy string orchestras drip "Silent Night" into our ears. The heaviest earmuffs won't protect us from "O, Tannenbaum." Pretty soon, our brains are leaking out our ears.

Even if we try to escape the Christmas fervor and lock ourselves up inside our houses, the holiday pressures find a way down our chimneys. Menus must be planned. Trees decorated. Halls decked. Stockings hung by the chimney with care. The instant we buy our kids' Christmas gifts, they tell us what they REALLY want. The mail brings holiday cards from people we haven't seen in years and we think, "Oh, we didn't send THEM anything," and we dig through piles of gift wrap and sticky bows in search of any card that doesn't say "Happy Birthday" on it. And, whoops, snap, there go another million brain cells.

Look, I don't mean to sound like The Grinch here. The holidays can be fun, and the reason so many of us lose our minds at Christmas is because we're trying so hard to make a wonderful life for our families.

(But speaking of The Grinch, have you noticed the vacant look in the eyes of the residents of Whoville? Tell me they're all there.)

Perhaps the answer to surviving the holiday season is to surrender to it. Recognize that everyone will be as nutty as fruitcakes until sometime after New Year's. Join in the festivities, run up those credit card bills, become a babbling, carol-singing, wreath-hanging, eggnog-swilling fool. Shut down your brain around Halloween and wait for all it all to be over.

And if it's still all too much to face by yourself, ask your loved ones for that surgical gift that keeps on giving.

All together now: "On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me . . . a frontal lo-bot-o-my . . . "

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