It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But for some of us, the holidays are not the most wonderful of the year.
Look, I like Christmas. The sentiments, the carols, the ornaments-on-every-square-inch Christmas tree, the presents—I love it. I’ve been aching for the Christmas Break to come since midterms started. But I also know that for some people, especially ones with ginormous families, Christmas does not always mean peace on earth, and it isn’t always as fun as it’s supposed to be. So I’ve compiled a list of ways to help you survive the holidays.
Get out of the house.
The fact that this is coming from me, who, at the time of this writing, hasn’t stepped out of the house for three days, should say something. When you’re cooped up in a place for too long—especially if you’re cooped up with someone who annoys you—it’s nice to get out of the house for a bit. Go take a walk. Go see the new Star Wars movie. Whatever. Do something. Fresh air is nice.
Schedule time with friends.
This is kind of an incentive. If Great-Grandma Betty or whatever’s coming over to spend a week at your house and you know she’s going to be all over you about your lack of a job/boyfriend/girlfriend/social life, it might be a good idea to ask your friends to hangout halfway through the week. It’ll give you something to look forward to when you’re being interrogated à la NCIS: Octogenarian Edition.
BAKE ALL THE THINGS.
I rarely get to bake things at my house a) because I have so little free time and b) because my mom doesn’t trust me to clean up the mess I undoubtedly will make. So this break, I’m going to do a crap-ton of baking. (Those five pounds I gain by New Years’ will be worth it.) And bonus: for those stressful parts of the holidays, you now have a ton of carbs to pig out on.
Do all those things you’ve been putting off.
You know those little unpleasant tasks that you’ve been putting off for ages because you just don’t have the time, like reorganizing your closet or fixing up your social media accounts? Well, you have time now. Best get on it.
Look super busy.
My dad used to tell me these words of wisdom when my mom enlisted me in her semi-annual Let’s Clean the Entire House! Operations. If you look busy, your manager/mother will (generally) think you’re doing good work and let you be. But if you’re twiddling your thumbs and looking bored, you can bet all the presents under the tree that you’ll be given something to do, and chances are it won’t be something fun. Take note of me: starting today, I’ll be sending out my university applications. So even though my feelings towards that can be summed up by this gif:
My family will accept that I am doing Important Things and will leave me alone. (Hopefully? Maybe? Sort of? Not really?)
Take note, though: use this one sparingly. Once your family figures out you’re just trying to worm your way out of things, the jig’s up.
Do all your “Christmas shopping.”
AKA the perfect excuse to get out of marathon family reunions and the like! This is an ideal way to implement #1, and also a sneaky way to buy lots of chocolate and junk food for when you just can’t deal.
Read a book or two (or three or four or five or eight).
As I said in #5, if you look super busy and important, you may not get disturbed and nagged. Books are old-fashioned and respectable enough that even the staunchest of grandparents may respect your reading time. You may (may) even be allowed to escape family reunions or sneak off to your room to read for a bit in peace. (Hats off to you if it works. I’ve spent so much time reading that you’re more likely to hear Alex, get your nose out of that book and go talk to your family than anything else.)
Rent some Christmas movies.
It’s a good way to get all of your family in the room without much yelling or ado. Tip: make sure to ask your family what their favourite Christmas movies are in advance.
Bring a comrade into the trenches.
If you don’t have sympathetic siblings or cousins to help get you through holidays with the fam, it might be helpful to bring a friend along with you. Invite them to your family’s Christmas or New Years’ party, or just live-text them your frustration. If they’re your friend, they will be there to laugh with you (sometimes also at you), offer sympathy, and text you funny memes until you snort eggnog out your nose.
Any type of breathing works: little puffs of air, angry rhinoceros huffs, wail-sobs, deep breaths, gasps for oxygen, I’ve-sprung-a-leak hisses, etc.
Just breathe. Think of that funny tumblr post you saw earlier. Think of all the great blackmail stories your grandparents told you about your parents. Think of whatever makes you happy.
What do you do to stay sane during the holidays?
(And as there won’t be another post until after Christmas, I’ll say it now: Merry Christmas, happy Kwanzaa, happy extraordinarily belated Hanukkah and happy whatever else I’m missing because I’m white!)