Christmas is approaching. An indication for me of the impending holiday season is that I’m getting a little more depressed each day. Yes, I’m one of the unfortunate few who dreads the holidays. And the older I get, the more painful it becomes. I find myself avoiding friends whose conversations are dominated by their upcoming family festivities. I wish for another dimension where we Christmas “orphans” could reside from the week before Thanksgiving until the first week of the New Year. By “orphans,” I don’t necessarily mean people without families. It also can be painful for those of us who have them but don’t get to see them. For me, one reason is geographical, another is medical. Over the decades, I’ve had to cancel so many family celebrations due to health issues that the invitations have stopped coming. After a while, people just assumed that I couldn't be there. Knowing how upsetting it is to all concerned when I have to cancel, they consider it kinder to exclude me. Now that’s really depressing. “There” for me involves travel by plane and navigating Los Angeles International Airport. Holiday requirements include arrival at the airport three hours before domestic flights. Add one to two hours for travel from my house to the airport, depending on traffic, and an hour in the air. Upon arrival, it’s a minimum of a half-hour to claim my suitcase and an hour to my destination. That adds up to roughly a seven-hour trip — assuming no weather or mechanical delays — one or both of which are nearly routine during the year’s busiest travel season.