Don’t say that you haven’t been warned. Regardless of your religious persuasion, you may have noticed or heard about a Christian holy day that happens this time every year. Just like Paul Young and the fine Band Aid folks told you back in 1984, It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid. Really, it’s okay, it’ll be over soon. All it takes to get through the holidays unscathed is a little planning mixed with a dash of flexibility and shit load of humanity. Here are my Christmas Survival Tips for everyone:
PLAN AHEAD: Seriously, have a plan. Running low on milk and bread? Then don’t go to the store on the Saturday before Christmas at 11:30 AM. Go at 11:30 PM or run to your local gas station’s quick mart and pay extra. Or better yet, team up with a neighbor and if someone’s running out for a large order of supplies, have them tack on your 2 or 3 items. But if you do go, don’t piss around for a good parking space. Accept the fact that you’re screwed, park a few miles away, wear comfortable shoes and get some exercise.
DON’T BE SHOCKED: If you’re the guy breathing heavy, rolling his eyes and checking his watch while stranded in an extra long line at the post office, then know that you’re a jackass. You’re probably the same idiot bitching about how hot it is in the middle of August. The post office sucks at Christmas. It did last year and it’ll suck again next year. Go with time to spare or don’t go at all.
HELP A MOTHER OUT: If you see a mother of small children struggling to push a stroller through a crowded mall, hauling an infant carrier in the crook of her arm while navigating through a tiny boutique filled with breakable items, or simply trying to keep a toddler from trashing a display while waiting in line – help her! Open a door or jingle your keys in front of the kid to distract him or offer to carry her bags to the car. At the least smile and hide your annoyance. She’s already overwhelmed – don’t add to her stress.
COOL IT: For the next few weeks understand that the traffic jam factor will grow, logarithmically. A 10 minute drive will take 40 minutes, your bus trip will be longer, hell, an afternoon on foot will slow you down more than ever before. You don’t need to be honking your horn, flipping folks the finger or pretending that you’re Dirty Harry. Chill out. Plug in your hands free phone adapter and call an old friend. Buy a learn to speak Italian CD and educate yourself. Grab a book on tape from the library and scratch off something from your reading list. Torture your kids by tuning your radio to a oldies station then sing along with every Bananarama song – loudly. Just be sure to get into the car expecting to crawl from Point A to Point B. It’s bad enough to be a dick-head around the holidays – but a dick-head behind the wheel of a 4 thousand pound vehicle, screams tragedy.
Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time. Scratch that. I don’t care if you’re extra nice or not this holiday season. Just don’t use the holidays as an excuse to be extra mean. Don’t turn the Christmas bells that ring [into] the clanging chimes of doom. I’ve got enough problems trying to keep my snow globe inflated.