Particularly when something bothers or upsets me, if I step back for a moment and think about it, it is inevitably a case of the situation not matching my expectations. I expect that this is why special occasions become stressful for me. I have a mental schema of what birthdays, holidays, etc. are supposed to look like, some pre-existing notion in my head of how things are supposed to go. But instead of doing something about it or communicating these expectations, I just expect them to happen. This is the perfect setup for FAIL.
1. get rid of expectations
2. do something to bring about expectations
The last couple years I have focused on option 1 a lot with little success. Perhaps I will look into option 2.