What to expect this holiday season
The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes all kinds of, well, let’s call them side effects. There is a commercial on TV right now meant to promote a certain sleep aid drug. The commercial is funny at times, a little sad at others and ends on a high note, with everyone happy. This is what I imagine a commercial for the holiday season might be like, complete with the very long list of common side effects. Modifying the list from the commercial slightly, I have put together my own list of holiday side effects, divided by event, that may be experienced by more than 1 percent of the population.
Daytime drowsiness — This side effect is also known as turkey fatigue. It may also be a very good excuse to get away from your houseguests for short amounts of time.
Binge eating — This is by far the most common side effect of the holidays. This may be more pronounced if you are feeling another side effect of the holidays (see depression).
Nausea — Most noticeable after unbuttoning your pants to accommodate the extra intake of food, just to realize your pants are not large enough, and you may have to change into sweats.
Constipation — This most commonly occurs after eating too many sweets and not partaking of the roughage available on the buffet table. These might include ants on a log, carrot salad and any mixture of roasted nuts (preferably the good kind without all the peanuts).
Self-loathing — This usually occurs several hours after the meal and is most often accompanied by the covering of all the mirrors in the house until the holidays are over.
Heartburn — Enough said.
Difficulty with coordination and slurred speech — These two commonly go hand in hand and may be experienced after a few glasses of wine, overindulging in the eggnog or even eating too many of Aunt Louise’s rum balls.
Anxiety — Can accompany holiday get-togethers where any family is present, but is most common with in-laws, parents of your girlfriend or boyfriend and just knowing you will have to converse with your twice-removed uncle who leaves his shirt unbuttoned to his navel.
Confusion — Usually brought on by the large amount of family members you don’t remember ever meeting, but they all seem to remember all the most embarrassing times of your childhood.
Fatigue — Muscles around your mouth may begin to twitch, and you may experience the need to lie down and sleep for long periods of time. Resist this behavior and continue to smile.
Depression — While this side effect can be found in any category, it is most pronounced at family get-togethers, where you may be forced to sit at the kids’ table, even after your 21st birthday, because your emotionally sensitive cousin Lulu brought her on-again, off-again boyfriend, leaving no room at the adult table.
Vision changes — Either induced by unshed tears of overwhelming holiday spirit, or the tears of boredom after hearing Uncle Ernie retell the story of losing the tips of both his pinkie fingers 20 years ago.
Religious and church celebrations
Memory problems — Occurs most often after the priest, rabbi, pastor, etc. approaches you and asks, “When is the last time you attended a service?”
Muscle pain — Being the holidays, you have probably not had the opportunity or motivation to go to the gym, which is why this side effect is most common during religious celebrations where you may be required to get on and off your knees continually and shake hands with neighbors.
Disorientation — This is seen in people who attend services only during the holidays, often with long periods of time in between. Upon entering the church, you may become confused, unsure if you are actually in the right place.
Hallucinations — Refer to Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
Other side effects may include, but are not limited to: dizziness, headaches, strange behavior, loneliness, a temptation to change your name and leave no forwarding address, severe overreaction, envy and feelings of inadequacy.
The holiday season is meant to bring cheer and joy. The side effects above are not permanent. If they should occur, take deep breaths, put a smile on your face and wait it out. It only lasts a few short weeks.