Silent night … holy night …..jpg

Silent night … holy night ….

BY: Drª Maria-Alice of Luzdoc Medical Centre, Praia da Luz

Email: [email protected]

DECEMBER IS here again and with it all the joys of Christmas. There is a lot of confusion and controversy in people’s minds over the meaning of Christmas, both in personal lives and in the world. Yet only a few, if any, are willing to give up the Christmas holiday.

What is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the mail, turkey dinners with family and friends, snow outside, stockings hanging by the fireplace, and shouts of “Merry Christmas” to those who pass us in the streets? By December, most homes will also be decorated with Christmas trees, coloured lights and an array of Christmas ornaments. In the UK, the British Post Office expects to handle over 100 million cards each day in the three weeks before Christmas.

Is this really what Christmas is about? Yes, but not only this.

Christmas can be a season of great joy for many people, but for many others Christmas is a time of sorrow. They do not have the money to buy presents for their children, turkey dinners may only be a dream and many are lonely, away from their family and friends, or have no family at all. Also, we should not forget that many are ill and suffering.

Christmas sneezing and Christmas trees

Your Christmas tree may be the reason for that annoying Christmas season sneezing. Christmas trees can trigger itchy noses, scratchy eyes and sneezing, says allergist Michael Alexander.

Symptoms may start to arise when the Christmas tree enters your home and only subside after it is taken away, although taking it down will usually bring on one last bout of sneezing and itching.

Tests done to the trees showed that they are a source of mould spores and air tests detected spores in the rooms where the trees were.

Decorating and taking off decorations can also trigger very itchy hands as a result of a contact allergy. Artificial Christmas trees are also “under investigation” as many are made from non-renewable resources, most often petroleum.

Poinsettia, a native Mexican ornamental plant, is a very popular decoration during the Christmas season. Natural rubber latex and poinsettia share some common allergen proteins. Hence, people with latex allergy may develop cross-reactivity with poinsettia.

Too much of a good thing can be bad

Most people gain weight in the four-week Christmas period. Parties happen almost daily, sometimes more than once a day, so if you still want to fit into your party outfit for New Year’s Eve and keep your health control your appetite and refuse a top-up before you have finished your drink. Alcohol not only stimulates the appetite, but can also weaken your resolution not to over-indulge.

Studies have shown that the greater the food choice on offer, the more calories we tend to consume. Rather than trying a bit of everything, stick to a couple of smart choices. If you simply adore fatty gravy and crisp turkey skin, have some, it is Christmas after all … but do not have a lot.

What do you want from Christmas?

In many countries of the world, the celebration of Christmas on December 25, is a high point of the year. But why? Does it have any real meaning for us today? Is there a ‘real’ Christmas message? If, in spite of ambivalent feelings, you keep on celebrating the Christmas holiday, it must be because there is some sort of a hidden meaning … magic?

Today, there are not many people that still consider the religious meaning of Christmas. Most people will not go to a religious church meeting, even at Christmas. It has become a busy race to spend money on presents and get ready for the party day. A visitor from another world would think that Christmas is a festival to the “gods of money and shopping”. Sorry I forgot the “eating gods”!

Is it just this you want from Christmas?

Making sense of Christmas

Luckily there are still people that hope for more than presents at Christmas. It is like somehow returning to a time in childhood (or some other good time in the past), when life was simpler and made more sense, before the troubles of adult life arrived. Behind all the fun and decorations, there must be something more, some key to hope and happiness, a different way of viewing life.

We should look beyond the way Christmas is celebrated today, and keep this feeling going.

There is a real meaning behind the Christmas season that we all somehow feel, even though our intellect does not fully comprehend what all the fuss is about. This season really seems to bring up the forgotten, well-hidden, childlike innocence in all of us. Cynicism gives way to celebration when you participate in the rituals of the season, like when decorating your home or wrapping presents in pretty paper and bows while listening to Christmas carols.

Christmas is not an exclusively Christian holiday, it is the festival of the human heart. The best gift you can give to yourself and the world this Christmas is the gift of love, understanding and compassion.

Wishing you all a loving and healthy Christmas

Dr. Maria Alice


THE LUZDOC TEAM: Maria Alice, Joanna, Niki, Carlos, Tiago, Nanda, Alex, Eduardo, Tania, Sofia, Julia and Nicole