The holidays are a special time of year, which I consider currently over despite today being the 11th day of Christmas and almost close enough to January 1st to still wish store clerks a happy new year on your way out. Almost.
The holidays are also a trying time of year when life actually becomes a family-first operation and you are exposed to a near-lethal dosage of non-nuclear family members. This can wear on any good countenance rather quickly, and soon you're prone to throwing Aunt Leslie's card (which has no money in it AGAIN this year) back in her face and spitting on your nephew Ethan who won't shut the hell up and stop crying that he didn't get an iPad. He's seven. That's ridiculous.
But, believe it or not, there is a way to make your winter downtime something wonderful, and I've got some simple tips to help you keep your sanity, and hey, actually maybe enjoy yourself next time around. Of course this would have been a heck of a lot more helpful about three weeks ago, but you have to live it in order to learn it sometimes, and better late than never (two cliches in one excuse, it's like killing two birds with one stone!) (not really, but the math is there).
1 — Have yourself no kids. No kids at all.
Kids suck. The life out of the holidays. Instead of being selfish and whatnot, you're forced to deal with being a provider, which is fine normally, but around this time of year that means being fucking Santa Clause. Or, Jewish light-gift guy. If you're going to have a good, stress-free holidays, that means you have to be on more people's lists than you have on yours. Kids are really poor, typically, and what money they do have, you often give them. Sometimes kids are too young to be able to purchase things or have thoughts. Despite these disabilities, they demand heaps and heaps of shiny, spiffily wrapped presents.
Next time when you're at the abortion clinic, consider this: your holidays will never be as good if you don't do it. Just do it. It's okay. Happy holidays.
2 — Be single.
The last thing you want a girlfriend or boyfriend seeing is how crazy your family actually is. And all those needless minglefests that come with a family holiday dinner are seriously less than worth your time. Unless you're married, you should abstain from bringing a girl or boyfriend around the family in time for the holidays. Because in order to properly unwind, you have to be able to be as weird and dysfunctional as the rest of your family is. Such things look bad to the significant other.
Also, that runs up your Christmas budget significantly. All the while, you're certain that the gift you give them is way better than whatever they're planning on getting you (they are too, that's just how that works) and also you run the risk of your family trying to purchase couples gifts which should be saved for a wedding and then promptly returned upon being recognized as crappy.
3 — Destroy your bank account.
Not literally. In fact, to literally destroy it would be the opposite of a good idea (in other words, a bad idea). Instead, remove the inhibitions you have from ravaging your savings fund and expunging all aggregated income on slight delicacies and purchases you would otherwise find to be extremely wasteful and stupid. This will help you to feel opulent, even though you're obviously not.
The more money you have, the better of an idea this becomes. See, the fact that you had money at one point leads me to personally believe that you have a decent chance of gaining back some of your thrown-away money once the holidays are over. Also, your self and group purchases will be all the more costly and ostentatious. Instead of three-ply toilet paper, your holiday gift will be something like a car or a jet ski. Something that lasts. Or, steak.
4 — Make sure your parents are divorced.
This is very important. Two Christmases! As an extremely preferred alternative, you could have one Jewish parent and one Christian parent, so you're getting your gifts at once and one at a time. It's a similar effect, but it does lack the parental competition and general sadness of having divorced parents. There's a give and take to it.
This way, you'll have two parents making you their best dinners (Christmas Eve and Christmas), competing to give you better gifts, and generally working to outdo the other. Plus, it's a great excuse if you don't like one of the gifts you've been given (mom already gave me this!). Remember kids, just 'cause it's your fault they split up, it doesn't mean they don't owe you the world for doing so.
5 — Get the green light to drink from your parents. And go, damn it, go.
Remember, this experience is "new" for you, so there's a lot of things you want to "try." If they take exception to your desire to imbibe, you have an arsenal of excuses to unload before you give in:
— It's legal in Europe
— It was legal when they were younger (in some states)
— You just want to try some (this is a lie)
— Have another drink, mom
— What is age, really? I mean, I feel like I'm fairly mature. Do you feel I'm not mature enough?
— You let [older sibling] do it when he/she was my age (they didn't, but they don't remember)
— We're all going to die at some point, what does it fucking matter?
— Mom lets me do it when I'm at her house
If none of these work, sneak that shit. And make sure your parents are drinking too so they won't notice. How you drink is also important. I've found the ideal way to Christmas drink is to stay buzzed throughout the entire Christmas process. Start on Christmas Eve, then Christmas morning make sure to get your buzz back. It will be easier if you don't brush your teeth and still have last night's alcohol on your breath. Optionally, you can finish by overdoing it, with a grand-Christmas-finale.
Or you can just be wasted the whole time, depending on how bad mom and dad's break-up was.
6 — Root for sports teams that play on Christmas, and ones that win at that.
The Bulls and Packers had lovely Christmas victories this year. (Pats self on back)
7 — Don't get sick.
It's a sign of weakness. Wait till after the holidays to turn into a mucus-puffed slug.
8 —Don't forget New Year's!
You can take a few choice days off at the end of December, but you have to be ready to go again on New Year's Eve. Even if this requires significant napping the day of, you have to keep in mind that New Year's is a late night and not to freak out because someone's drinking Cider on your bed at 7:45.
Don't blow midnight. Be there and be awake and be ready. Obviously New Year's is very unimportant, but you can make it feel kind of significant if you work at it. Also, New Year's Day is a great time to enjoy another sports victory, especially one that clinches your favorite team's first ever 15-1 season. Hell to the yeah, Packers.
9 — Don't forget the reason for the holidays.
While you're sipping the bubbly in your ugly sweater and rolling your eyes at another one of your dad's slurred jokes, don't forget why humans do this. Yes, there's the Christianity aspect. The Jesus-was-born-so-I-get-presents phenomenon. But I mean, people keep telling me that Jesus was born by a virgin, which is crazy. In fact, Mary might be full of shit. Then again, they say she was full of the son of God, so let's not call her a bullshitter just yet. They say Jesus didn't cry when he was born. What a composed mother fucker. And just like that, give or take thirty years, this proclaimed son of God said we could do whatever we want, so long as we recognize God's existence/greatness and that he gave his son for the people of the world. Why would God make that deal? I'll take that deal. Thanks, God.
So what we want to do is have the holidays. To have a time in winter where we indulge ourselves and turn the darkest time of the year into the "most wonderful." We did that. If everything sucks, fuck it, ignore it. Life is greater than every other thing that we know of. So don't take it for granted. And in the worst of times, remember: the fact that we have any times at all is better than not existing. So quit your whining, and enjoy your egg nog, even if you need a little whiskey with it to do so.