It’s crunch time, folks. Time for sucking it up and getting it done. Time for keeping your head down and working hard until you scratch everything off that list. You know – decorate tree, fix strand of broken lights on outside porch, bake cookies, send cards, RSVP to holiday parties, figure out what to buy Aunt Carol – shit like that.
You are getting close to the crossroads. Close to the moment of truth when you need to decide what shit you’re going to do as planned and how you’re going to improvise on the fly. More importantly you must give yourself permission to abandon plan A and focus instead on plan B.
If you are a slacker, this is a no brainer. But abandoning plan A if you happen to be type A, well, that can get a little ugly. Since some of you will need a little help, here are my holiday slacker tips for you. and your official permission slip to slack as needed. But before I proceed, allow me to be clear. If you look forward to baking Christmas cookies all year, then by all means bake away. I’m not suggesting that you abandon your holiday traditions and fun. I’m suggesting that you abandon that which you do out of joyless, obligation and drudgery. I’m suggesting that you make an honest assessment of your mental capabilities and then decide how to best handle things. If screaming at your kids while baking those damn Christmas cut out cookies for that fat, shit-head, Santa only to bitch and moan while you clean up the mess is what ends up happening every year, it’s time to start a new tradition. Buy the cookies and use the time you saved to have a drink and relax for God’s sake.
So in honor of this, I give you…Drum Roll Please….My Holiday Slacker/Time Saver/Sanity Inducing Tips:
Gift Cards: Buy them all at the same grocery store and you’ll save gas along with time.
Bakery Items: Notice I didn’t say, processed baked goods. I’m talking about actual pastries and treats baked by real people that enjoy baking. Either pick up items at the local church holiday bake sale (like I’m going to do next weekend) or buy from the local bakery or do a cookie exchange. Just don’t stress out over baking if it’s really not your thing.
Email Greetings: There are so many online and digital options for sending a greeting. Yet most of us still kill a tree, spend the money on a stamp, get a picture processed and developed, and spend hours addressing envelopes. Certainly you may feel the need to send actual cards to your business associates, but for your close friends or the folks you only contact yearly at this time, send an email greeting, attach some photos and move on.
Agree On A No Gifts Policy: A few years ago my friends and I all decided to stop exchanging gifts and instead spend that money on a diner out, a girl’s night having a few drinks or a coffee at Starbucks after the holidays. This also applies to birthdays and our kid’s birthdays.
Santa Can Be A Non Wrapper: Growing up Santa didn’t wrap because he was too busy. So I kept that tradition and learned that kids don’t care, they just want the loot. One year I put every gift in one of those GIANT holiday garbage bags. My kids thought it was cool to have a sack just like Santa as they pulled out each gift one by one.
Dare To Dream A New Dream: Last year I hosted a holiday coffee. I really enjoyed it and thought I’d make it my yearly tradition. But this year, I’m only free to throw one on Friday, December 21st and not sure if I want to host it so close to Christmas. That’ll be a crazy day for people and even though I specifically told folks last year not to bring anything – most of them still brought something. So although I host it as a “stop by and grab a bagel/coffee on your way to run your last minute holiday errands” it ends up becoming one more thing for folks to plan for, get a gift for, etc. It hit me this week that I could always throw a general winter coffee – for no particular reason at all – when no one is stressed out and if not tied to a particular holiday, no one will feel the need to bring a gift.
People Mean What They Say: If they say no gifts, they mean it. Don’t bring anything. Instead, invite them over at a later date and tell them not to bring something. This isn’t rocket science. Listen when people tell you what they want.
When People Ask To Help, Let Them: Likewise, when someone asks if they can bring a dish and you could use the help because you’re short on time or money – SAY YES! If you’re a control freak, then be specific when you say yes so that you can get exactly what you need.
Alright people. I know that I’m forgetting something. What are your tips for a sane holiday season?