And you can count your blessings everyday, or go nuts. So given the choice, the former is the way for any optimist.

Manhattan has a big gut at the moment. It’s bulging amidst its seasonal seam straining period of enthusiastic shoppers and tourists. Streets North, South, East, West and all compass points inbetween are gridlocked; you’d be forgiven for thinking the twelth day of Christmas was actually serenaded by sound of a few dozen horns honking.

So one can choose to get swirled up in the competitive sport of Christmas shopping. Or the 2012 (the year New York is making its bid to host the summer games) Olympic sport of sidewalk sidestepping — an intricate, highly athletic sport in which stamina and mental strength count in equal parts, not to mention well toned muscles for those various handicapped competitors who carry various sizes of aforementioned Xmas loot. Or the the highly contagious, general anxiety disorder of it all.

Or you can seek and find your personal bliss.

Between great friends, and close shaves with meltdowns, I’ve found mine, So here are my top current bliss moments for remembering the true spirit of the season. In no particular order:

* Christmas cards are a joy, not a chore, no matter how late they arrive.

* Your Xmas tree will always be better decorated and awesome to look at when you share the tree trimming with your friends.

* Yes, it is better to do your Christmas shopping all through the year. That way you can be a spectator in the sport of shopping. There’s nothing as nice as being able to stroll through the stores and wonderful Christmas markets with no specific purpose.

* Warm Christmassy drinks may be calorie-laden, but they’re heart warming too. One decaf white chocolate mocha please… or a warm cider (non-alcoholic this side of the pond), or a hot chocolate — I’ll take anything from SwissMiss to La maison du chocolate, merci.

* Sharing a bag ful of cookies with someone who is homeless will make you really appreciate every bite.

* There’s nothing like watching the rain deluge down on 9th Avenue with the street gridlocked to the horizon while you’re sipping a hot chocolate on your couch; warm, dry, with nowhere to go. The corollary is that there’s nothing like being stuck, drenched on a corner, cab-seeking to humble you. The lesson: it’s vital to keep both perspectives on tap.

Blissful… may you find yours.



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