Things I’ve learned about surviving the holidays/this time of year:
1. Eggnog has at least 9 million calories per glass, and other holiday goodies have at least 7 million per bite. So I try not to eat or drink very many of them.
2. The office party can be fun and might even provide alcohol. Careful with that. Do you really want these people to watch you pole dance — sans pole — next to the dessert table? Somebody no doubt will post it on Facebook or Pinterest. Or, worse, upload it to YouTube. Save your sexy-time for the homefront, Flashdance.
3. If you work out regularly, keep doing that. Especially if you have an impending visit with holiday regulars that has the potential to end up like Die Hard 2.
4. You don’t need to eat ten pieces of Christmas fudge at a time, no matter how small they are. See number 1, above.
5. Is buying crap really what this holiday is about? How about starting a new tradition, like having get-togethers with your friends and/or family and all of you selecting a charitable organization to donate to? Share the love rather than the shopping. Might be a good tradition to start with kids, too, if you have them.
6. Caroling can seriously be fun, especially if you do it at a place like a nursing home or maybe a veterans’ or children’s hospital (check with the officials at said places first, before you show up with your Lady Gaga-infused rendition of “Silent Night”).
7. Rather than do a gift exchange with work colleagues, why not find a local organization that’s collecting things for families in need and do a drive for it?
8. Get some rest. You can’t be present for anybody during this time if you’re exhausted and cranky. Plus, not taking care of yourself means you might run yourself down, which puts you at greater risk for catching cooties. And it sucks to be sick, whether it’s the holidays or not.
9. You don’t have to decorate to feel like it’s the holidays. If you don’t feel like doing it, don’t, unless you have kids and they really look forward to it. Otherwise, it doesn’t make you a grinch or scrooge-y if you would rather look appreciatively at displays that are not your own. Get together with friends for a festive “other-people’s lights” tour. And be glad you don’t live next door to this guy. Though I’m sure he won’t mind a little horse-step dance in his driveway.
10. This time of year can be really stressful and depressing for some people. If you know people like that, check in with them. A “hey, how are you?” goes a long way.
And one of my other tips: I’m a year-round donor to various organizations, and I try to give extra this time of year. Suggestions: no-kill animal shelters; local organizations that help local families; larger organizations like the Red Cross and Heifer International. So check around. There are lots of people in your local community that could use some help, especially this time of year, imbued with all the symbolism and baggage we’ve loaded onto it.
Share your tips below, if you’ve got ’em. Happy Saturday!