Christmas can be awkward. Let’s face it. It’s a season fraught with both man-made and universal potholes causing navigation through the maze to feel much like trying to find your car at the mall on Christmas Eve. After a six mile walk, a weary rest near the Lexus with the big red bow (kidding, nobody buys those even if they are on “sale”) and a handful of toffee that was originally purchased for your Great Aunt Eloise, your car is still nowhere to be found. Certain it’s been stolen, you try to find a security vehicle to aide in the search while also making strides haphazardly through the rows of cars like a ghost in relentless pursuit of Pacman. You’re itching to get away from the guy who’s been following you for a mile in the hopes of snagging your spot. The slow approach of the car keeping pace with your footsteps is unnerving and a reminder that you need to stop watching so much Criminal Minds. Mace in hand and packages now feeling like they weigh more than that awkward tower of twelve fruitcakes the office gave as a holiday gift, you start to cry. While wrestling to open your purse with your teeth to find a tissue under a pile of “Christmas To Do” post-it’s, you look up through mascara smeared eyes only to see your car being towed from the spot it’s called home for the past nine hours. Ahh yes, the meter. If only you had brought ninety-seven dollars in quarters…
How can situations like these be avoided? Why are the holidays so hard? Is there anything that can ease the stress and the burden suffered by hundreds of folks as the end of December draws near?
I’m glad you asked.
In an effort to make this time of year a bit easier to bear, I’ve come up with a few tips. They are yours to use, pass on and live by while decking the halls and dashing through the snow. The aim of course is for all of us to end up on the other side of this thing happy and intact. My hope is that the golden nuggets of navigational wisdom below will serve us all and lift our spirits helping to truly make the season merry and bright. Please note however, this help is holiday specific. There’s not much I can do – at least with the advice I’m about to give – for pre-December blues other than point you in the direction of a solid shrink. I have a few in my arsenal that will make you feel like a million bucks and more than likely cost you just as much. Sanity is expensive these days my friend and with some of the nonsense around Christmas, so is insanity. What’s a girl to do, you ask? I say, blame it on the crazy and proceed with reckless abandon.
Here we go.
Ho. Ho. Ho.
1. If you are unhappy about the location you are going to have Christmas breakfast/dinner/lunch/dessert/drinks/potluck/guilt sandwiches with a side of why don’t you visit me more you ungrateful son/daughter/mom/dad/aunt/cousin/neighbor/friend with lukewarm benefits due to your lack of emotion and availability for three am booty calls and a side of Jim Beam, don’t go. Not only should you skip it but you should post pictures of yourself someplace else holding handmade banners that say, “This is the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER.” The reason why? Because we both know if you don’t show up, even if you have two flat tires, hay fever and a case of the measles, you are going to get the same reaction as that guy living it up without his obligations on facebook. Go big, don’t go home.
2. If you are given a gift from someone whom you consider to be sincere and decent who you did not purchase a gift for, excuse yourself, go to the bathroom, hope it has a window you can crawl out of which leads to the street and head towards the nearest gas station. Get them a gallon of windshield washer fluid and/or a bottle of Windex and some Skittles. When you present said items to the recipient, tell them you want to be sure they can always clearly see a rainbow when it appears as well as carry one with them wherever they go because they have always been a rainbow for you. It works like a charm. You will need to explain why you were in the bathroom for over forty minutes and how you got outside as you will return by the front door versus risking your neck to climb back up to the second floor bathroom. It’s your call but I’d go with the old, “I was trying to rescue a squirrel I saw struggling in a tree,” bit. If there is no tree still use the squirrel excuse and then tell them you need to lie down as you aren’t feeling well. Once alone you can eat the additional bag of Skittles you purchased for yourself. It’s a colorful win win that does wonders for your squirrel kindness karma.
3. If you are given a gift from someone whom you consider to be an insincere asshat who stands there with a smug look of satisfaction while you feign gratitude knowing that your entire relationship you have been nicer to them on your worst day then they have been for the totality of their existence, sneeze open-mouthed on the gift. Ask them to then hold it for you as you fish for a tissue. Once you are certain they are properly disgusted, take it back and with a broad smile, move towards them indicating you are about to bestow a mighty hug. Whether or not they allow that to happen is not important. They will be so turned off at this point they will forget about your lack of a return gift for at least a week giving you time to pick them up a half off Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree that you can drop off at their desk in the New Year. Don’t knock it, those things are addictive and delicious. You’ll come out on top and you’ll score a discount tree for yourself. Another sweet situation where everybody wins.
4. If you aren’t sure whether or not you should get your boss a gift, there is a decent chance you may have the flu. He/She is your boss. They determine, I’m assuming, in large part, your bonuses, raises, career track and promotions. They are probably not bribable – at least I’d like to hope not with my obviously sincere and decent heart – but, they remember things like team spirit, thoughtfulness and generosity. Remember, these days it’s about more than just executing flawlessly when it comes to your objectives for the year. You need to show a little love, spread a little cheer and hide your bitter, crazy self with the effort of a man grasping desperately onto the last marble rye. Get them a gift and then take your temperature. You don’t want a fever to get in the way of your fabulous.
5. If you receive a gift that makes you wonder if the giver has ever met you or is unaware that it is almost 2014, keep it and give it to the recipient listed in tip number 3, or use it/wear it/grow it/cook it/bake it/shake it and try and remember it is the thought that counts. If it is impossible to remain grateful, humble and decent, pull them outside and while the cold air envelopes you both, hope for some clarity to remind you of their giving nature, or tell them you dropped your (insert prized possession here) while you were walking towards the house earlier. As they begin searching, place the gift on the front porch along with their coat and lock them out. Watch from the window as they knock confused, giving them a knowing look of disappointment. If they’ve ever been caught cheating on a test in school or stealing some gum for the local five and dime growing up they should get the point pretty quickly. Next year you will either receive a better gift or have one less gift to buy. Some people can’t be taught but those who can will learn from you and will be forever grateful.
Well, there you have it. Just a few holiday tips from my heart to yours. Your gratitude would normally be thanks enough but I have some toffee to replace and a discount Lexus to purchase so if you could send me a check, I’d be grateful. Money orders are better. Thanks.
OK – now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, allow me to say this:
The holidays are about spirit, family, giving, love, wonder, merriment and joy. At least that’s what they’re about for me. Whatever they’re about for you, whatever it is you wish to gain or feel during this time of year, I hope you do. I also sincerely hope that it can be done with almost no stress and the appreciation for all of the wonderful things that happen that get lost in the midst of the nonsense. Years ago, my Dad explained to me the spirit of Santa as I was beginning to lose my faith in the fairytale and I can still hear the sincerity in his voice when he spoke of the magic of Christmas. It gave me such hope and I felt such joy and I still feel that whenever I hear Sinatra sing a carol or get choked up when I see the latest Apple or Kohls commercials. There is a dreamy, dopey smile feeling that sometimes grabs me and stops me in my tracks reminding me that I don’t need to get so caught up in the obligation and detail. It can be hard but if you can manage to stay open to the possibility of the love that is out there and the spirit that the holiday brings about, it really can be a Merry Christmas.
Now I love Ferrero Rocher – truth. I’m gluten free though so I can no longer partake in the deliciousness. I love Lexus – truth. I’m not able to afford one though whether it’s discounted or offered as a buy one get one free deal. I love Skittles. I love rainbows. You can never have too much Windex or windshield washer fluid and I never buy toffee as a gift because I would eat it all day long until I begged for mercy and Pepto Bismal. I’m like a moth to a flame with Criminal Minds, I still love Pacman and I still have yet to sink my teeth into the mystery that is fruitcake. I’ve heard I’m not missing anything but if you have a gluten free version and would like to prove me wrong and share the love, I’m in.
That’s all for now.