Wednesday, December 28, 2011

confession: surviving the holidays

When I was a little girl, Christmas was magic.  I loved the fact that I was the only little girl who had a tree decorated by Santa.  Every year the jolly old elf would visit our house twice.  We'd buy a tree, I'd go to bed, and POOF! the next morning there was this gorgeous tree in the living room that Santa had decorated.  Years later I realized that it was Mom's way of having total control over the tree and how it looked.

Thank goodness I didn't take after my Mom with her total-control-over-all-things-Christmas type of personality.  Well, at first I did.  I used to get wound up tighter than a spring when the kids were little, then one year I realized that I was getting no fun out of the holiday, and working myself into a snit every year.  By the time Christmas day got here, I was as useless as a pile of unbaked cookie dough in a cold oven.

Now I tend to go with the flow.  I've learned some valuable lessons along the way that I would like to share. I didn't share these before Christmas because I realized that only with post-Christmas burnout would anyone even begin to understand the points I was trying to make.  I figure by now most of you are feeling shell-shocked by it all, and are in an overdosed carbohydrate coma to boot.  (I awakened from my own coma today.)  So I humbly offer my ideas for surviving.  Read these and tuck them away, because next year will be here before you know it.

1. When you decorate, use everyday items to add seasonal color around your house.  Target bags make great bathroom garbage can liners, and the red circles on them look like little red wreaths.

2. If you time buying your Christmas poinsettia just right, the last leaf won't drop until the day after Christmas.  It adds a lot of beautiful color and when Christmas is gone, so is it.

3. Remember the tree principle: the smaller the tree, the fewer ornaments it takes to decorate it.  And if you shove it in a corner, you can cut that amount in half and decorate the front only.

4. Kids will eat anything.  So if you are watching your waistline at Christmas, let the kids bake up those tubs of cookie dough you bought, and make sure to bake them too long.  Kids don't care, and you will be less tempted to eat cookies that taste like chocolate charcoal.  (Until after Christmas, when you go into a carbohydrate crash and burned cookies start looking good.  Make sure you send them home with the grandkids.)

5. Recycle, recycle.  I can't emphasize this enough.  That old green tablecloth that is stained and ugly will take on new life when you turn it into a tree skirt and wrap it around the base of your $35 four foot Christmas tree.

6. All the Christmas coffee mugs you were given over the years make a great centerpiece for the table.  Just stack them in the middle of the table, and throw some tinsel over them for a festive centerpiece that everyone will envy.  If you run out of last minute Christmas gifts, you can always take one or two and regift them, and throw a couple ornaments (left from your tree) into the centerpiece to fill the holes.

7. If you run out of eggnog before Christmas, add vanilla, nutmeg and sugar to buttermilk and tell your guests it is diet eggnog and that is why it is a bit funky tasting.

8. You can hide a lot of dust bunnies and fruitcake crumbs under a Christmas tree skirt.

9. Don't shop until three days before Christmas.  Make your shopping list, then have a couple Margaritas before you go.  You will be amazed at the bargains you find, and it won't even bother you that your 80 year old mom is getting a G-string from Victoria's Secret.  Or that you just bought a $300 remote control car for your toddler grandson.

10.  Tell all your family and friends that if they are buying you a gift, wine is at the top of your wishlist.  Voila!, your wine rack is restocked in one fell swoop.  And you will have something to offer those guests who wretch when they try your buttermilk eggnog.

The last and best suggestion to surviving the holidays is to relax, this too shall pass.  Just like constipation, it is a temporary condition.

May your holiday (what's left of it) be a notch better than your worst nightmare. :D

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie
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