December 19 Editorial

This year, with the spirit of Christmas in mind, our family has decided not to exchange gifts. Instead we are spending the holidays together without the stress of scraping and saving up money for materialistic items that none of us truly need. I can honestly say that for the first time during the holidays, my skin is clear, my wallet is fat, and most importantly, the whiskey bottle isn’t empty. For now…..With that being said, here are some tips to help you survive the holidays with your family.
Learn to say no: With so many holiday parties, events, and obligations, it can be enough to drive you crazy just to look at your calendar. Realize that you are one person and can only commit to so much in one month. Pick the events that mean the most to you and forget the rest. Respectfully decline the invite and the host is sure to forgive you. If not, think of it as one less gift to buy.
Share the responsibilities in the kitchen: This is a big one for me because I absolutely hate to cook and always feel like I’ve missed out on the entire day because I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen. Instead, try getting other members of your family to pitch in by asking them to make your “favorite” dish that only they can make so perfectly. You’ll be stroking their inner “Julia Child” ego while taking some of the pressure off of you for the big meal.
Remember that no one is perfect: You’ve been putting in the effort decorating the tree, the mantle, and the centerpiece. Not to mention you nearly killed yourself while hanging lights from the rooftop. Relax. The house looks great. No one expects your home to look like Martha Stewart just moved in. Keep in mind that the fabulous décor you see on TV and in magazines was either done by hired professionals or someone who doesn’t have a day job.
Get plenty of sleep: With all the stress that comes along with the holidays, if you don’t get enough shut eye you may tend to be a little grouchy. No one likes a grouchy host, and trust me when I say that NO ONE likes a grouchy guest. Do yourself a favor and get your 8 hours. If that’s not enough, channel your inner kindergartener and take a nap.
Eat with caution: Sure it’s the holidays and all of your favorite treats are pretty much on display everywhere. Feel free to indulge in whatever you like, whenever you like. Just remember that what you eat now will end up on your thighs later, and bikini season will be here before you know it. The last thing you want to do is eat like a ravenous Rosie O’Donnell now and feel like the Michelin Man without Prozac later.
When family pressure starts to build, think like a duck: Sure we love our families, but sometimes the holiday stress can bring out the worst in them. When Uncle Morty gets a little cranky or Cousin Ethel says you look fat, just remember to let it roll off of your back like water to a duck.
Always have a plan: No one ever goes into battle without a strategy. Your brother hates your new boyfriend? Send one of them on a beer run. Far, far away. Can’t stand your in-laws? Find an activity that they enjoy and keep them busy while you savor a moment alone. Whatever your problem, search for an answer before you get ambushed on the big day.
The most important thing to remember is to cherish the moments we have together. Yes, we may drive each other crazy and forget the real reason of the season with our commercialized greed, but in the end our family is worth the hassle. But if they do drive you a little over the edge, just remember that as quickly as the holidays come, the pass. And a little wine never hurts. Merry Christmas from all of us here at the Escambia Sun Press.