“The Holiday Survival Blog”

“Holiday” by definition, is “leisure time away from work devoted to REST or PLEASURE”. Ok, so why do we all look, seem and feel so stressed out? How come I needed a few days to recover from my Thanksgiving “Holiday”? We have all of these unbelievable demands put on us, my Family (the Primary Culprit), Friends, Work, and Society. Have we, in fact, destroyed the Holidays and replaced them with frenzied festivals of chaos? It kind of feels like it. Every day since December 1 my wife and I have compared Task Lists in preparation for the Christmas-New Year “Festival”. Our conversations begin with “Don’t forget...” or “When you’re out, could you...” . Phase One is ON! Phase One you say? Yes the “Three Phases of The Holiday Season”:

Santa picture

Phase One-“Pre Game”: This is BY FAR the worst Phase! It might be the most STRESSFUL TIME OF THE YEAR! (Any Carol Writers out there?). Lists, Christmas Parties (Didn’t they used to be fun?), Rushing Around, Crowds (try Amazon!), Family Event and Accommodation Planning (Airport Runs!), Juggling Parents, Step Parents, Kids, Step Kids, Food Planning and Shopping (this remains constant in all Phases!), Work (like anybody is really working!), Spouses, Pets, and Lists! (It needed to go in here twice! I have List Nightmares!) If you can survive the “Pre Game” without incident, you can usually manage a little fun in the next Phase.

glass of whiskey picture

Phase Two-“The Events”: You need to be prepared to attend at LEAST two functions per day even if they are quick “Stop Ins”. This Phase is ALL about being SOMEPLACE at someone else’s TIME! NIGHTMARE! Learn the phrases “Sure” and “If you want to honey”. You’ll need them and a little booze.

Phase Three-“The Aftermath”: Hopefully you made it, marriage, liver and sanity in tact. Phase Three is the best phase. It’s usually the week between Christmas and New Years. Everyone is running on fumes so you won’t be pulled in a million different directions and can actually...just maybe RELAX!

I’ve been through 48 mostly wonderful and certainly blessed Christmas Seasons! Please accept these “10 Tips for Surviving The Three Phases” as my gift:

santa's list image

  1. “Make Lists”-They haunt me but I would be lost and INEFFECTIVE without them. Santa is right.
    “Host ONE Big Event”-Bite the bullet for one day and save yourself a hundred visits while welcoming your family and friends into your home.
    “Cut Down on Gifts”-Give Gift Cards, Homemade Stuff (Food is always nice! Who doesn’t like Fudge?), or Framed Photos!
    “Say NO”- You cannot do everything! See Number 2.
    “Put Down the Electronic devices and Talk!”-Talk to each other! Really talk, not mutter under your breath while texting. We have a “No Phones at the table” Policy.

    "Elf" movie picture“Watch One Christmas Movie a Day”-There are some really wonderful Holiday Movies! Sit down as a family and watch one EVERY DAY! Some of my favorites are “Christmas Vacation”, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “A Christmas Story”, “Four Christmases”, and “Miracle on 34th Street”. You can Google a comprehensive list. Wikipedia has a nice one. Trust me. Your whole family will love it!
    “Drink”-Pick a beverage and nurse it throughout the first two phases especially!
    “Do Something Nice for Yourself”-You deserve it after all you’ve been though in Phase One! How about a massage? Day of Pampering? Nap? Just do SOMETHING!

    Santa's hotline phone picture“CALL Your Old Friends”-I realize that you probably “Facebook” but try picking up the phone and hearing their voice, like the old days! Ask them about their lives, families, and careers. They’ll love to hear from you and you’ll feel great after each chat!
    “Reflect a Little”-Take it all in and try to enjoy the craziness while reflecting on all that is wonderful about this time of the year. How many more Christmases do you have? They are ALL very precious so treasure this one.

Merry Christmas and Happy “Holidays”. See you in 2012!

William Prettyman