It’s common knowledge that the holidays are not always a time of cheer and good will for all people. Many simply can not enjoy the season. For them it goes beyond the traditional “holiday blues.” There are many true seasonal sicknesses to contend with this time of year. To examine the topic of holiday distress, I contacted Dr. Lamont Erickson, of the Noel Institute of Wellness. There was much to learn on the topic.
Dr. Erickson noted that it is, indeed, a difficult time for some, with the holiday’s maladies taking both physical and mental form. “For instance, the Institute is now seeing a marked increase in cases of Claus-aphobia.”
I had to admit I wasn’t familiar with Claus-aphobia. The doctor explained, “Like any other phobia, it’s an unreasonable, irrational fear of something, like heights, closed places and, in this case, Santa Claus.” I concluded that many children must then be Claus-aphobic, but Dr. Erickson stated that was a common misconception. “No. Kids are just scared. Big hairy guy breathing on them like that? What’s not to be afraid of? We are more involved with adults and what happens when they come upon a right jolly old elf. They get nervous and sweaty. They develop heart palpitations. Real anxiety. And that laughter, what’s up with that? Did you see the belt buckle? Do you know what kind of damage a belt buckle that big could do? And he’s really fat, what if he falls on me? They get nervous just looking at those soda-pop ads, or greeting cards. Most can’t even bring themselves near a department store or mall this time of year. You walk down the street and there they are, corner after corner, a slew of Santas, ringing their bells, looking so jolly! Aaaah!”
It was then I discovered that Dr. Erickson was an acute Claus-aphobic. His experiences with this condition compelled him to seek out and attempt to treat the diseases of the season.
There is quite a list. The stress of the holidays can manifest itself into many other aliments, such as the Holly-Jollies. The Holly-Jollies is a nervous condition much like the heebie-jeebies. It effects long winter naps and makes you overly-sensitive to any clatters that might arise. It appears to be caused by excessive consumption of sugar products. There’s Noel-zheimer’s Disease. This is when a patient becomes suddenly forgetful about what gifts to buy, clothing sizes or what you did at the office Christmas party.
The Institute has discovered and cataloged quite a number of other holiday aliments:
• Inyulelenza: the common Yule-flu that often results from the lack of proper nasal protection when Jack Frost comes nipping at your nose.
• Mistletoes: similar to athlete’s foot, an infection caused by wearing stockings not hung with care. It can be easily treated with a medicated tannen-balm.
• Kris Kringle Shingles: a viral infection, which causes a painful rash. You usually get it by sitting on untreated Santa laps.
• Bi-North Polar Syndrome: a marked changed in brain chemistry resulting in major mood swings, from naughty to nice and back again.
• PM-Xmas: discomfort experienced by women, as part of their winter cycle.
• Hum-Drummers: a form of post-holiday depression. It is named after the first known case, the Little Hum-Drummer Boy. This young shepherd was so depressed he had to have a smile painted on his face. That’s what getting underwear as a present will do to you.
• Grinchworms: if you eat a bad sugarplum you could pick up this parasite that can invade your digestive tract and cause uncontrollable cravings for fruitcake and gingerbread.
• Silent Nightis: a form of laryngitis caused by excessive caroling.
• Tinselitis: temporary blindness caused by prolonged exposure to bright & shiny tinsel. The cure requires a tinselectomy.
There are cases of people who are so stressed by the season they go into denial, refusing to believe the existence of the holidays. They are diagnosed as egg-nog-stics.
So Christmas isn’t all ho-ho-ho and sugarplums for many of our friends, family members and strangers. As the holidays approach, many people will fall victim to any one of these illnesses. And if you know someone with these symptoms, you should tell them to get their shopping done early or you won’t get your present.