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Home  > Press > Newsday

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Web Sighting

The Site: Happy Holiday Season Calendar
The Address: http://www.myprimetime.com
The Reason: Don't worry, be happy

By Bob Suter
Staff Writer

'IT'S THE MOST wonderful time of the year.
With the kids jingle belling,
and everyone telling you, ‘Be of good cheer,'
It's the most wonderful time of the year.”

So Andy Williams perennially croons to us from shopping mall sound systems each December. But if this time of the year really is so "wonderful,” why do so many of us feel so glum?

It's the big "S” word: STRESS!

"Anyone who has moved beyond Barbie and Hot Wheels knows the holidays often bring more disappointment than joy,” observed Donald Van de Mark, co-founder, vice president and editorial director of myprimetime.com, a Web site addressing the concerns of that most stress-laden segment of the population, the nation's 81 million baby boomers.

"So many baby boomers are now at the center of families, with responsibility for their parents and their children,” said co-founder and president Helen Whelan, explaining why the site is introducing the Happy Healthy Holidays Calendar.

Similar to traditional Advent calendars, the Happy Healthy Holidays Calendar offers a daily Web link each day from Nov. 24 through Jan. 1. Each link features a cartoon and a lively story offering advice on how to beat a particular holiday stress-producer. All of it is in keeping with the site's philosophy: "brevity, levity, utility.”

Advice will range from simple reminders such as "remember to breathe,” to more complicated advice raised by the "blended and extended” family, such as how to avoid revisiting old arguments with siblings.

In addition to its regular message boards, the site is launching an interactive discussion group for those "struggling to achieve the holiday spirit,” said Paul Mandelstein, the site's community director. "The holidays bring up lots of personal and family issues, including divorced families, different religious practices, having too many people and too few places at the table, and much more.”

The site also offers support services where people can get one-on-one advice.

The site's long-range intention, according to Van de Mark, is to become "a personal trainer for your life.” To this end, myprimetime.com (created by people who trace their roots to CNN and PBS) is built around four content areas -- Money, Work, Health and Play.

Of course, if we could "train” our lives so that we could perform optimally from day to day, dealing with the holidays and all that they entail would be a piece of cake.

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