Ho, ho, oh no they didn’t!
Don’t let the holidays stress you out. For starters, it’s temporary. The holidays don’t last forever…you can do this! Second, if you keep in mind a few simple things, I promise you it will be easier than you ever thought possible. To help you improve your holiday cheer, check out my latest contribution to MomCave TV! You can also read the full text below. Cheers, bitches!
5 Things to Remember When Trying to Survive the Holidays
The holidays can be hard for so many of us. It’s as though all of the dysfunction ever known to man emerges on one day. The pressures can be overwhelming, too. I remember the first time I had to bring a dozen hard-boiled eggs to a holiday event at my in-law’s and I swear (at the time) it was the most stress-inducing event I had ever engaged in. (So many eggs were lost that day. ) But today is a different story! Over the years I have gained enough wisdom to help me remember a few key things for the holiday season; making it all a much more bearable experience. A good sense of humor and strong cocktails help, too.
Everyone is Self-Absorbed
In the summer 2016 I was very abruptly diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Cancer is rarely funny except when I have it, as I strive to focus on the funny and absurd no matter what. The first time I saw my extended family after surgery and radiation treatment was at Thanksgiving and do you know that not one single person asked me how I was doing? I know what you’re thinking so I’ll clarify: The house was filled with aunts, uncles, cousins, and cousins’ children and not one single person asked me if I was going to live or die. Not one. The hard truth is, most people are far too absorbed in their own lives to really notice what’s happening to those around them.
Knowing this is very helpful for the holidays. Say, for example, if you are put in charge of the appetizers this year, fear not! The honest truth is, no one is going to notice if your crust is slightly under cooked. Relax and remember what happened to me on Thanksgiving. Don’t stress because no one is paying attention anyway!
Tip: Enjoy the fact that no one is really interested in your green bean casserole or what your kids are wearing. If you need a little help, pair it with a cranberry infused champagne sangria. Because nothing goes better with this realization than obnoxiously self-absorbed cranberries.
Lower Your Expectations
Expectations are always what get us in trouble during the holidays. In the south we hope for a white Christmas but ultimately end up with humidity and mosquitoes and we are generally let down. Remember when I expected people to notice my fresh surgery scars and ask me how I was feeling? Expectations are rarely met. The best way to handle the holidays is to lower your expectations. Don’t expect the proposal. Don’t expect the new car surprise. Don’t expect ongoing joy and laughter. Don’t expect your kids to be gleefully happy about their presents.
Before entering any holiday function, picture your ideal family experience. Now lower your expectations…a little lower…slightly less…down one more notch…there. You are set. With the bar set that low, you cannot be disappointed. In fact, anything good that happens above that bar is a true holiday miracle, and that, my friend is something to revel in.
Tip: Enjoy this new level of lowered holiday expectations with a glass of boxed wine. Because nothing says lowered expectations like wine in a cardboard box.
Smile and Nod
I’m not sure what it is about the holidays that make people engage in the worst kinds of small talk. I can only surmise that when people are crowded together in someone’s tiny kitchen they will do anything to avoid awkward silences. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather an awkward silence any day over having to listen to Uncle Joe go on about his experience at the deli counter. (No, I really can’t believe she gave you more ham then what you paid for.) Worse yet is the cousin who goes on and on about how fantastic life is in radio sales. Or the in-law who loves to brag about her perfect children and lists the things they would never, ever do.
Tip: Resist the urge to box that obnoxious braggart in the pie hole with a small shot of whisky. Hide it in a red solo cup and nurse it throughout the day.
You are doing a damn good job. Even on our worst days, if we simply show up, that’s a success. Don’t let other peoples’ judgement get in the way of a happy holiday for you. Apologize for nothing. If Aunt Jackie thinks the kids are too loud, that’s her problem. Smile and be proud of your socially outgoing children. If your sister-in-law thinks your sweet potato soufflé is too dry, smile and remind her that’s how it’s served in France. (It’s totally okay to roll your eyes when she walks away.)
Tip: Resist the urge to apologize and instead smile and nod. If you need more than that, sip on a Pinot Noir.
Comparison is the thief of joy. Repeat after me: Comparison is the thief of joy. Our joy is a precious resource and should not be given away because of someone else. My Christmas tree will never look amazing. I may never be able to make sugar cookies that don’t spread out into unrecognizable globs of dough. My hard boiled eggs may never be evenly peeled. As long as we are making memories as a family, memories that my children enjoy, how I stack up against other people no longer matters. AT ALL. I refuse to give up my joy because someone else had the time and talent to create perfect little snowmen out of unmatched socks.
Tip: Stay joyful about what you create, because no matter what, it’s pretty damn amazing. If you need some help, nothing bring out pure joy like boozy eggnog.
Lastly, remember that the holidays aren’t forever. This too shall pass. Don’t end up looking and feeling like my son’s panicked turkey. Cheers! xoxo