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What to Do if Life Spirals Out of Control at the Holidays (including must-see Christmas movies)

My last cartoon was about job interviews, and one way to answer the trickiest question of all.

This cartoon is about temporary setbacks. I feel like I did some moving backwards this year, or at least didn’t progress, even if I didn’t exactly regress. Just me?

Of course, now I have the excuse of the holidays for my non-movement. Oh dear, they are so tingly and pressure-filled, how can I move forward the way I want to?

But there is help. I guess I was too preoccupied last year to notice that PsychCentral did quite a nice little round-up of columns for the holidays. (None of my cartoons were included in the roundup, but I’m determined to remain calm and cheerful, and soldier on.)

The first one that caught my eye is Why are all the great Christmas classics about depression? To be honest, I’ve never noticed this. I am not sure that this is even true. Okay, since George did try to commit suicide in It’s a Wonderful Life (did he? I can’t remember), I’ll give you that one. But Charlie Brown? He never gives up.

And I strongly suggest that anyone wanting a Christmas movie pick-me-up just turn the channel to Ion TV. (Channel 50.3 in Los Angeles.) The sweetness, inanity and predictability of their annual Christmas made-for-TV movies will distract you from holiday blahs like nothing else can.

secretary at xeroxThey all share the same plot, too, so it’s super easy to watch and zone out: Boy meets girl, boy meets girl’s cat or kid, a mix-up happens, and at the end they share one (1) kiss. The end. There will be a Christmas tree and decorations, but never snow, because they’re all shot in LA, and no night time scenes, either (too expensive to shoot!).

3 Strategies for Dealing with Christmas Expectations caught my eye, too. However, I immediately got distracted by her discussion of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I worked on that movie for several months, and what a wonderful experience. The script was so funny, and the cast so amazing (Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Juliette Lewis, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Johnnie Galecki, Doris Roberts, Brian Doyle-Murphy…I mean, REALLY?) I don’t think you can watch that and not laugh the whole time, and on set was hysterical, too.

As the author says in the article, YOUR Christmas won’t be this outrageous and funny. But I wish mine was.

The last article that caught my attention was: Merry Christmas, I’m a Sex Addict!’ When to Tell Your Parents and Family. If you ever get a Christmas card like this, that’s a keeper. In fact, I think it would make a great T-shirt, too. My two cents for when to spill the beans? Tell them before the figgy pudding.

All rights reserved, and content, especially and including cartoons, is copyrighted. ©Donna Barstow 2016.  And you can Like me on Facebook to get notified of new cartoons as soon as I post them.

Keep an eye out next week for my famous comic Thanksgiving cartoon!

What to Do if Life Spirals Out of Control at the Holidays (including must-see Christmas movies)

Donna Barstow

Cartoonist for LA Times, Parade, WSJ, Glamour, PsychCentral, Barron's, Weight Watchers, and textbooks & Chicken Soup books. Author and editor of 2 cartoon books and a Barnes & Noble calendar.

I both write and draw all my cartoons. You are warmly invited to share the link to this cartoon. The full-size cartoons are all copyrighted, so please email me at pen.drawing AT g mail (squish it) for rates for use in textbooks, prints, presentations, publications, or websites. Email me AT pen.drawing @ gmail. com. (Squish the address.)

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APA Reference
, . (2016). What to Do if Life Spirals Out of Control at the Holidays (including must-see Christmas movies). Psych Central. Retrieved on April 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Nov 2016
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