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Coping with Groundhog Day Stress

GroundhogWe’ve all been there.

It’s the day before Groundhog Day. You know that family is coming to your house in the morning. You have all the food ready to go. You’ve prepared yourself for the joy and rigors of another holiday season. You’ve battled crowds of Groundhog Day shoppers and waited in long lines at the grocery store. Your time has come.

And yet you still feel stressed.

We’ve watched all the Groundhog Day movies and read all the well wishes on Facebook and Twitter. Surely Groundhog Day has more to offer than this. With the delights of family, football, and weather prognostication coming, why do you look with the upcoming holiday with a sense of dread?

We’ve all been there.

Today you will learn the final preparations you need to deal with Groundhog Day stress. You will be prepared with the tips and tricks you need to deal with tense Groundhog Day discussions and the difficulties of learning that Spring is going to late this year. You, my friend, have come to the right place.

What do I do when Uncle Larry insists that my groundhog is not the REAL groundhog?

It is a common argument in well-intentioned families. Most Americans follow Punxsutawney Phil. While he is the most prominent rodent weatherman, he certainly isn’t the only one. We cannot forget about General Beauregard Lee, Buckeye Chuck, Staten Island Chuck, or the so-called Wiarton Willie (Balzac Billy doesn’t count, he’s not even a real groundhog).

I can remember many a Groundhog Morning when we are watching the celebrations and await Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction with bated breath. In the tension of the moment, Uncle Larry would always be sure to start a fight by aggressively arguing that the REAL groundhog for all predictions is General Beauregard Lee.

We foolishly would try to persuade him that Punxsutawney Phil seems to be the most reliable furry prophet but to no avail. Soon, when the predictions of Spring had come out, we risked an all out fist-fight if Punxsutawney Phil and General Beauregard Lee made opposite predictions.

Obviously, this is childish. We never really considered that it’s entirely possible for Georgia (General Beauregard Lee’s prediction zone) and Pennsylvania (Punxsutawney Phil’s territory) could have entirely different Springs. Once this was established, a great deal of family peace was found.

Is Punxsutawney Phil immortal or not?

Another common fight in my family has been whether Punxsutawney Phil is really immortal. The Inner Circle in Punxsutawney make such a claim and I find no reason to doubt them. That said, there is no reason to be dogmatic about this. It could be that Punxsutawney Phil is a title and a mantle that passes from groundhog to groundhog. Either way, no one doubts the esteemed reliability of the predictions.

Should I risk bringing up the Wiarton Willie incident?

I don’t want to talk about it.

Should I put my winter clothes away if the groundhog predicts an early Spring?

This is a common question among the Groundhog Day faithful. There are many who do take the prediction at face value and immediately show their dedication by preparing for the early Spring. This is well and good except when they use this as an opportunity to mock those who “lack the faith.”

Personally, I wait to see the early Spring. It’s not that I doubt Punxsutawney Phil (or whichever groundhog you follow), it’s that I doubt the Club President’s interpretation of his Groundhogese. Punxsutawney Phil is, of course, always right. The men who speak for him are not as reliable.

Either way, don’t let this be a divisive issue in your Groundhog Day. Let each do what they wish.

How should I arrange the schedule for my Groundhog Day celebration?

Generally, I think this schedule is the most helpful for a delightful time with family on Groundhog Day. We need to take into account this year that there will be a Groundhog Day football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. This is a special treat and will effect your usual celebration schedule.

6 AM Everyone should be awakened and should shower.

6:30 AM Eat breakfast. This is a good time to consider how much your groundhog does for you each year.

7 AM Everyone goes to the television to prepare for Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction (be sure to check when he is scheduled to come out, you may need to rise earlier).

8 AM Family will sit and discuss how the prediction will effect their plans.

12 Noon This is the big meal of the day. Some families eat a vegetarian meal to honor the groundhog.

1:30 PM Take a nap to prepare for Groundhog Day football

2:30 PM Watch Groundhog Day (a family tradition for us)

5 PM Order pizza and enjoy a good football game

10 PM Everyone goes home

The Big Idea

We all bring a lot of stress and expectations to our Groundhog Day celebrations, but let’s not forget to enjoy this delightful and wonderful holiday with family and friends. That’s what Punxsutawney Phil would want.



9 thoughts on “Coping with Groundhog Day Stress

  1. A suggestion: The schedule could include attending the church of your choice to thank God for the blessings of the ground hog legend; the freedom to be silly and nonsensical; and for your gifts which have given me a good laugh. Er, not to overlook the true reason for attending church. This will not interfere with the meal of grasses (ground hog diet) nor the ground hog day celebratory match between a bunch of seahawks and broncos. (Vegas line: The mammals have the weight advantage but the birds own the air). The ground hog, who bears a resemblance to the football, will stay out of sight and thus out of harm’s way.

  2. Aunt Nancy,

    It was with a bit of tribulation that I approached this often touchy subject. Many times, differences of opinion about Groundhog Day are interpreted as hostile. I hope my experiences can help others truly enjoy this most sacred of holidays.


  3. Marley,

    Oh my. How could I have allowed this oversight. Please don’t think me a pagan, but merely someone who forgot to mention an important detail. You see, my church is closed that Sunday due to the holiday (seriously, who will actually show up to church on Groundhog Day). We will be attending a Saturday Evening service before Groundhog Day to make sure to properly honor God for sending his burrowing prophet.

    Thank you for clarifying this. Many could have walked away with thinking that church was unimportant on this festive holiday.


  4. Your suggestions really hit home for me. You see, I was born on Groundhog Day and every year, since early childhood, I am taunted with “Did you see your shadow today?” Talk about pressure! People get mad at me if there is 6 more weeks of winter. So I appreciate your stress-relieving tips. Also, I believe Phil is immortal, just like Santa Claus. He just doesn’t get the top billing and media coverage that Santa does. It’s time for a Macy’s Groundhog’s Day parade and after-Groundhog Day sales!

  5. Sue,

    What a privilege to be born on that sacred day? I can see that it would come with its challenges: sharing Groundhog Day presents, sharing attention with your Groundhog, and the endless taunting by your family and friends.

    As a small comfort know that I will be thinking of you as I am participating in my own Groundhog Day celebrations.

    Let’s hope for an early Spring,


  6. Pingback: Groundhog Day Predictions! | Life, The Universe, and Everything

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