Women Keep Holidays on Track

If you are male you may disagree with me.

I believe the success of the holidays are 100 percent the product of women’s work. It is the wives, mothers, sisters, aunts, perhaps teens, and grandmothers who keep the holidays going.

They shore up the whole thing, a bit like Atlas hunched over with the world’s weight on his shoulders. (Interesting that this mythic symbol is a man.) Women, already struggling with full-time jobs, or full-time motherhood, or juggling both and quite possibly shouldering the 24/7 caregiving of their elders or spouses, somehow muscle through the whole holiday season.

Women purchase, write and send the greeting cards; plan the festivities; shop for all the family gifts; cook and bake endlessly; wrap and ribbon; and invite, prepare for, and clean up after friends, visiting family, kids, or teens.

And the holidays or not, women support the retail industry too. Nine-tenths of merchandise is useless and aims to entice us. Walk through any mall; there is an endless array of jewelry, purses, shoes, perfumes, pillows, knickknacks, candles, kitchenwares and furniture. Department stores usually devote one half of one floor to men’s clothing, while the other four floors overwhelm us with makeup and skin care products, lingerie and clothing. No wonder we females swarm the stores, while a handful of men wait it out on a bench.

OK, no more ranting. My real point is to applaud all you wonderwomen, and your holiday heroics. I shout a hearty “Well done!”

Next, I offer a warm holiday hug, suggest tea with a friend, prescribe a massage, and recommend requesting as a gift, borrowing, or buying the following two books.

These books can make a solid long-term difference in your health, well-being and lifestyle. My first suggestion is “Inventing the Rest of Our lives: Women in Second Adulthood” by Suzanne Braun Levine (Viking Adult, $24.95). Levine was the first editor of Ms. Magazine and produced the award-winning documentary “American Women in the 20th Century.” Her book examines life after our fifth decade. She divides the book into three sections.

“Getting to What Matters” focuses on Letting Go and Saying No. “Finding Out What Works” considers Recalibrating Your Life. “Moving Onto What’s Next” invites Making Peace and Taking Charge.

“Younger Next Year for Women” by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. (Workman Publishing, $24.95) promises to help you live as if you’re 50 until you’re 80 and beyond. This book offers oodles of information supporting six days per week of serious exercise and the necessity of maintaining extensive social connections, all backed with medical data, to avoid decaying or rotting as we age.

Additionally, my son discovered a Web site that publishes, unbelievably, good news only.

Check out: www.happynews.com.

Because Saturday is Christmas Eve, I quote Santa with a minor change: Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night.