CHRISTMAS IS FOR ME, as it is for most people, a time of anxiety, hollow emptiness, loathing, isolation, and crucifying inner pain. Last year I received a special visit, not from Santa, but from HDS--Holiday Depressive Syndrome. I became sullen and withdrawn, and could not function well in society. My friends and family worried about me a great deal. They feared that I might hurt myself, or that I might hurt one of them, or that maybe I would first hurt all of them, and then drive to the mall and hurt some Christmas shoppers there, before finally hurting myself very badly in a showdown with the police. I certainly talked about it. My subsequent hospitalization severely impacted my productivity as a worker, and cost my HMO tens of thousands of dollars--I'm sure you can imagine how bad that made me feel.

But this year will be different. This year I will not be troubled by feelings, bad or otherwise. Thanks to the caring people at Merxton-Clinchem--makers of YULEPAX, the revolutionary new mood-stabilizing drug that combats Holiday Depressive Syndrome--I will remain calm, relaxed, and optimistically neutral until my prescription runs out on December 31st. (At that time, I may optionally choose to begin taking ANNUMBIX, the revolutionary new mood-stabilizing drug from Merxton-Clinchem that combats PHDS--Post-Holiday Depressive Syndrome.)

With YULEPAX, all the hand-wringing, nail-biting, self-injuring uncertainty that used to accompany Christmas gift shopping is gone, burned off like a summer fog. Everything is so much simpler now. Unfettered by fear of rejection or failure, freed of all those niggling worries, ("Is this good enough for Mom?" or "Could Dad hit me with this?") these decisions that once stymied me, are now made so easily I could laugh, if laughter was within my emotional range.

To demonstrate just how much better I feel, here are some practical gift suggestions from just below the surface of my heart. I hope those of you who have not yet asked your doctor or pharmacist about YULEPAX will benefit from my crisp clarity.

Cardboard Box
So simple, so rectangular, so very useful. Available in so many sizes, shapes and thicknesses that you could give a different one to each person on your list. Put things in it, or leave it empty. Even people who already have a cardboard box can probably use another one. And if they can't, it's recyclable. It's the thought that counts.

Available in various sizes at: Mail Boxes, Etc., 3439 NE Sandy Blvd.
Price: 25 cents to $1.25

Loaf of Bread
Hunger is a lot like depression. It starts as a queasy feeling deep in your gut, and slowly builds in waves of longing and despair, growing worse and worse until finally you collapse, unable to move or think. Although the caring people at Merxton-Clinchem are searching tirelessly for a pharmaceutical solution to this vexing social problem, right now the only treatment that works is good old-fashioned food. For instance, a loaf of bread. There are so many kinds of bread, too. So many shapes and flavors. But I prefer white.

Available in various sizes and flavors at: Fred Meyer
Price: $1.75 to $4

Warm Socks
Wintertime is so very cold. Who wouldn't appreciate warm socks? It's the gift that says "I wouldn't want you to get frostbite and have to have your toes amputated, because I love you." Like cardboard boxes, socks are one of those things you can't have too many of. Tube socks are only $7.99 for a pack of six. Six socks are three pairs--even I know this.

Available in various sizes at: Fred Meyer
Price: $7.99 for six

Bleach makes everything very white and clean. Clean, white, spotless. I hate spots. At least, I remember hating them. Lots of people hate spots, and stains, and blemishes, and specs, and bacteria. These things must be eliminated. So give the gift of bleach, and make everything cleaner, whiter, and better.

Available in various sizes at: Fred Meyer
Price: 79 cents to $2.25

There are all sorts of perfectly good reasons why a person might want to own a handgun, reasons that have nothing to do with vengeance, homicide or self-annihilation. For instance, handguns make good paperweights. They have very interesting mechanisms that are fun and rewarding to clean. And sometimes it's relaxing just to know that you have one locked away safely in the house, oiled and loaded and waiting for that day when you decide you finally need to use it. Just thinking about handguns is fun. I would certainly enjoy a fine gift such as this. Wouldn't you?

Available in various sizes at: The Gun Room, 56th & SE Foster Rd
Price: Starting at $50

Made by the caring folks at Merxton-Clinchem, YULEPAX is the revolutionary new mood-stabilizing drug that combats HDS. Someone on your Christmas list needs YULEPAX. Maybe that someone is you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about YULEPAX. I did, and I feel much better.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Price: $724.18 for a six-week prescription. (May be covered by your health plan)