Holiday survival guide
How to make it to New Year’s Day alive
‘Tis the season of crowded malls, lame gifts and awkward conversations with drunken relatives.
There are awesome things about the Christmas season such as liquor-infused eggnog, weeks off school and — who am I kidding — conversations with drunken relatives are extremely amusing. However, it’s also one of the most stressful times of the year, especially for dirt-poor university students. Fear not, here’s a guide to surviving any aspects of the holidays —and by that I mostly mean drinking and presents.
Ugly sweater parties have recently become a staple of X-mas shindigs. For those who’ve never had the pleasure, it involves ransacking Value Village for hideous (albeit fairly cozy — don’t deny it) pieces of clothing that have holly jolly, festive joy splattered all over them.
The goal is to look as stupid as possible. It works because everyone looks ridiculous, so it’s not embarrassing, kind of like Halloween.
Looking to be master of ceremonies? Simply knock back rum and eggnog in succession until your stomach kindly tells you to screw yourself. Wait until all that holiday goodness comes back up from whence it came. Now let that rum/eggnog/vomit mixture dribble down your chest, all over what is likely your grandma’s favourite sweater. Congratulations, you win both ugliest-sweater and smelliest-asshole award!
The family party — unless you come from a religious family, your relatives probably like to pound booze. Many are likely reaching that strange age where it’s okay to get a little tipsy. Looks like you’ve moved up from the kids’ table to sit next to grandma. Ignore her when she asks why you haven’t returned her Christmas sweater yet.
With any luck, you can be that relative. You know, the single aunt in her mid 30s who turns a couple of festive drinks into an all-out shit show. Everyone deserves a chance at being the Christmas drunk.
Just be careful. Christmas-time can quickly turn into intervention-time where all you get to unwrap is shame and sadness.
Parents are some of the few people you’re obligated to buy gifts for, and you can’t give them Popsicle stick coupons anymore. If you can’t think of anything then get them a gift card to a decent restaurant, so they can go out together. If your parents are divorced then give them a flier to a speed-dating event, they’ll love that.
Past that, you may have to get gifts for siblings, friends and other family members — something I’ve mostly avoided by playing the “hey-we’re-all-poor-here” card.
If you have kids you should probably get them gifts. I’ve heard kids are really into Christmas.
I hate holiday shopping. This is because I’ve worked a lot of retail. But being in a bleak mall with hundreds of other angry shoppers or trekking through the parking lot in -30 C weather kills my festive spirit. Call me Scrooge, but if you enjoy Christmas shopping then bah humbug to you.
If you work at an office, or somewhere that closes for Christmas holidays, I hate you. Those working in customer service or retail will be picking up quite a few shifts around Christmas. These shifts will make you curse Christmas along with the music they loop over the mall speakers.
However, working retail at Christmas creates a loophole in which you are allowed to be the drunkest at the family Christmas party every year — hope that hangover isn’t too bad when you get up at 6 a.m. to work Boxing Day.
If you go out of your way to avoid participating in all the cute family aspects of Christmas, you’re being a Grinch — stop it.
Suck it up and get up early on Christmas day. Help your mom out with baking. Watch Jingle All The Way while mowing down on caramel corn. It’s really not that hard to survive decorating the tree when you’re past the age of 15 when you didn’t care about the stupid tree because you were supposed to meet your friends at the mall and your mom was just trying to ruin your life.
There are a lot of headache-inducing aspects of Christmas, but these should not be included. And remember, alcohol turns bad feelings into warm, fuzzy ones.