Tips for Surviving This Holiday Season

Or, Mocking the Merry Mayhem That Consumes Our Winter Souls

It’s a well-known fact that braving the ins and outs of the holiday season is brutal. The mayhem begins with the fight for the best, plumpest, awkwardly-shaped, naked bird from your local grocer’s refrigerator and doesn’t stop until week two of the second semester of school–when the latecomers return from extended holiday skiing trips and teachers realize there’s no avoiding the children so they may as well cease the staring contests and try to teach them something.

Well folks, this holiday season is no different. We’re still experiencing an economic crisis that is so out of style you’d think the scrunchy had returned for a comeback. Again. But, since we just aren’t fond of breaking our bank accounts, maxing out our credit cards, or spending any time at all in ERs and other just-as-chaotic public facilities, here are 12 neatly-organized and expertly-experienced tips for keeping this holiday season a notch below insane.

1. When fighting lines at the mall to buy little Bobby and Amy their new toys and dolls, wear an alarm around your neck to ward off people who get too close. These devices are rather affordable and can be set to go off at 30-second intervals, so as to remind your fellow shoppers to stay out of your personal space.

2. If you choose to get your gifts professionally gift-wrapped, perhaps at customer service in your favorite department store, bring your own wrapping paper that you neatly folded and saved from last year’s Christmas festivities. This will cut your costs by more than half–you’d only be paying the fees for the wrapping service.

3. White elephant gifts are really only for white elephant parties. And since white elephants are rare finds in the domesticated United States, stick to re-gifting more traditional, common things, such as your plethora of plastic grocery bags, your This Old House back issue collection, and any other items you can reduce, reuse, and recycle.

4. Gift receiving is a tricky thing. What if you love it? Is it always appropriate to jump for joy and giggle with glee? What if you hate it? Is it possible to still jump for joy and giggle with glee? Whichever method you choose to take, remember this: open your great-aunt’s gift with caution–who knows what’s inside. And, wear protective clothing for this portion of your holiday spirit; you never know if the gift is safe, clean, or comprised of non-toxic materials.

5. Holiday weight gain is always a scare. To prevent living in fear and/or anxiety during this holiday season, place your scale in a sturdy box, and lock it with a chain and pad lock. There’s really no need to spend these precious weeks worrying about such small matters.

6. Grocery store visits should be limited to early Saturday mornings. Arrive Friday night with full camping gear in tow so as to be first in line for the shopping rush. Bring your spouse for conversation and warmth; just think of it as the new Friday night date.

7. Airport security lines are still a mess, and there’s still no avoiding them. So, to keep your time spent in line to a minimum, wear a bodysuit. They’re like adult onesies; easy, comfortable, warm, and can be purchased in a variety of fabrics and colors.

8. Since personal space on planes is only decreasing these days, be up front with your neighbors about your plane-riding habits. Once you’re settled in your seat and ready to enjoy the ride, politely turn to your neighbors and inform them that you will, in fact, be borrowing the shoulder of choice for your nap, you may stretch out when the seatbelt sign is not lit, and you must walk a lap down the aisle every 30 minutes but no, you will not accept any seat but the window seat. Thanks.

9. Be health-conscious this New Year’s holiday. When the ball drops, rather than kissing your spouse or significant other, rub elbows or pat each other on the back. You’ll save yourself from the looming swine flu.

And finally, some post-holiday trauma preventions . . .

10. Rise early on New Year’s Day. While still in your party-hardy stupor, rid the house of all party evidence. When you’re completely awake, you won’t remember those drowsy promises to throw the annual family pig roast this year.

11. Having neatly folded and stacked your holiday wrapping paper from the season’s festivities, spend the rest of the New Year’s weekend storing it properly in fireproof boxes to be used again next year.

12. Remove the pad lock and chain you placed around the box containing your scale. Reset the default for 10 lbs. below your normal weight. Now sit back, relax, and think about next year’s holiday feasts.

Happy Holidays, folks. Hope you take time to enjoy them.

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