Ask Dr G Letter from Santa
Written by Doctor G

How to Serve and Survive, with a little help from Santa


Last year I responded to this question from a certain Saint, and folks told me it was the message they needed in the moment. Some things have changed since then, but many things haven’t. I’ve been thinking about this one overwhelmed seasonal worker and what we might all need to remember as we seek to both serve and survive.

So, if you saw this last year, thanks for sticking with me for all this time, and I hope this reminder resonates. For the thousands of you (!) who are new to my community this year, thank you for putting your trust in me. I hope this reframes whatever stress you’re currently feeling and offers a few strategies you could use to make it better. His inquiry and my response are below.

Let me know your thoughts, please!

Wishing you peace and joy,

Dr. G
PS If you’d like to share this message with someone, please forward it along!


I got a letter from Santa (I don’t think that’s how this usually works, but I’m Jewish so I’m not totally sure). Since my website is, I’m obviously open to questions from anyone…

Dear Dr. G,

I’m not sure how to keep up. I feel like I’m supposed to be everything to everyone (not you and your tribe, obviously, but still, a LOT of people!), and this year I don’t feel up to the task. In past years I’ve come up with systems and traditions and have some help but this year it’s a lot harder. Some of the elves are high risk for COVID (those little lungs!) and I want to protect Mrs. Claus so I’ve picked up the stuff she usually does… and that’s not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that I CAN’T LET ANYONE DOWN! Not only do I have a rep to uphold, the folks I serve have been through too much! How can I tell them I need a bit of a break? They have it so much harder than I do! I feel pretty alone up here.

I know you offer strategies for resilience. Got any for a superbusy working Dad in the pandemic? And sure, you can publish my response – but only for the grownups, ok?

Be good,


Dear Mr. Claus,

First of all, thank you for reaching out. You’ve answered a question I’ve always wondered about just by getting in touch. Secondly, I hear your worry, that you’re feeling overwhelmed and isolated. I’m sorry – those are painful emotions, especially stacked up against the obligations you have. I have a few suggestions and I hope you’ll use whichever seem useful and helpful to you.

1. Tell your people how you’re feeling. I know it can seem like you don’t have the “right” to struggle when others count on you, or have it harder than you by your estimation. But there are no rules about feelings (only about behavior, as you know better than anyone!). By telling your loved ones how you’re really doing you’re trusting them and building connection with them. Let them offer some suggestions about how they could help – even you don’t have to do it all on your own. You’re giving them the gift of letting them in and knowing you need them. That’s important, and important gifts are kind of your thing, right?

2. Show yourself some empathy. Instead of listing the reasons you shouldn’t feel the way you do, try being as kind in your self-talk as you would be to someone you love. You deserve compassion and grace and understanding, and your words (even the ones you just think in your head) have real power to hurt you – or to heal you.

3. Don’t forget the fun! Even with the crazy long todo list, this time of year is short. Could you pick a thing or two you really enjoy and make sure those happen for you no matter what? Listen to music that lifts you up while you’re working. Take a great bath for 20 minutes before you go to sleep? Facetime with Frosty (I hear his retirement is going great) for 10 minutes after your deliveries are all done? We sometimes believe that work isn’t as valuable if it isn’t unpleasant or a strain – but I know your Ho Ho Ho can fit in to any part of the tasks you need to accomplish, so please make sure YOU enjoy it too!

I was so glad to see Dr. Fauci give you the vaccine, thanks for believing in Science! And wishing you a really good night…

All the best,

Dr. G

For everyone who is really feeling Santa right now, I hope these ideas might help you too.

Wishing you peace and joy,

Dr. G

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