I have been a Christmas fanatic my entire life. The music, the mythology, the lights, and the decorations. The food, festivities, and fa-la-la-ing! Choosing and wrapping gifts you know people will love, window shopping just to see and experience every Christmas thing you can, and so much more, have always been part and parcel of my holiday adventures.

But not this year. I'm trying very hard to find that "Christmasy feeling" that is usually ever-present in me, from the onset of falling leaves through the icicles of January. This year it seems to be eluding me.

Have I fallen victim to the acrimonious environment enshrouding our planet, swirling around us like the evil Dementors of Harry Potter fame? That is certainly part, but not all of it.

Family problems, financial shortages, and health issues seem to be weighing heavily on my mind this year, just as they are for so many others. And no, I don't need to be reminded how blessed I am. I have a job I still love, with a guy who makes me laugh-- a lot-- every day, a roof over my head, friends and family who love me.

Yet, I'm in a complete holiday funk. No, it doesn't console me to know thousands of others are feeling exactly the same way. It simply makes me wish the world was a kinder, better, more peaceful, place.

I will deal with this unpleasant bump in the road, the way I always have, by thinking and feeling deeply, by leaning on my friends and anti-depressants, by praying, and staying around long enough for it to pass.

Perhaps, by the time Christmas arrives and I'm sitting by a cozy fire, next to a pretty Christmas tree, with a cup of warm mulled cider in my hands, the magic might creep up on me. I certainly hope so.

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