How To: Survive Christmas

Mariah Barnes, Staff Writer

‘Tis the season, Marauders! In less than a week all the crappy Santa Claus carols, low-budget films, and tacky lights will be worthwhile. It will be the glorious day of present-opening and face-stuffing that we’ve all been waiting for! If only that was all that Christmas entailed. Alas, many of us are housing guests or were roped into a huge family gathering with every relative you’ve ever disliked. There will be the fifteenth retelling of that crazy, embarrassing thing you did when you three, and Uncle Jim will probably be drunk before the Christmas turkey is out of the oven, and your mom will make you wear that tacky sweater Grandma got you that was too sizes too big, and you’ll do the dishes because you needed to get away from Edna and her tales of her latest non-tumorous growth. And what if you don’t have a huge family Christmas? You get to call every one of your relatives: “Merry Christmas, Grandpa, thanks for the socks,” “Happy holidays, Eddie—what? No. I’m in high school now. Yeah, it’s funny how that aging thing works,” “Aunt Beatrice, the hand-knitted calf warmers you made me are delightful,” and my personal favourite: “No, Grandma, I’m not seeing anyone right now. No, really. Yes, I’m sure.” With the guaranteed headaches that are sure to follow, here are some survival strategies that will make the holidays a little more…happy.

If you’re in the situation of having people at your house over for Christmas, you’ve been given the horrendous task of being the host. For some reason being a resident in the family dinner location has made a new set of rules for you: before setting the table or doing the dishes you must be consulted for advisement of proper placement, fetching people anything they desire is a must, and your room has become a tourist attraction. Even after half an hour, fatigue has already killed your buzz. The best way to get a rest from all the activity? Turn on a movie or feed people. I guarantee if you holler out the viewing of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation you’ll get an excuse to sit silently for an hour and half. If that doesn’t work shut up that one Talkative Tom, get him or her some pie. Pie has the unbelievable ability of temporarily muting a person, and if you get them a really big slice, the magical effect doubles.

This Christmas, maybe another family member may be hosting or you and your family went over to a friend’s house. Now you can’t fake sick and hide in your bedroom. Now you don’t have WiFi connection. Now your parents can hit the rum and eggnog without mercy. It feels like it’s going to be a long night. Luckily, you have no responsibility now. No clean up duties, no entertaining. But if the hosts aren’t the greatest, try bringing things with you from home to make the evening more enjoyable. Bringing an iPod dock so you can DJ both the best and the worst Christmas songs (I suggest adding “The Cat Carol” to the playlist; you won’t regret it), or a board game like Apples to Apples to liven things up a bit. Even if though you have no obligations to make the evening memorable, making a few suggestions or preparing in advance can make the time fly by.

The last scenario is just a festive dinner with you and your immediate family. Not too much drama, not too much work. Opening presents, eating lots of food, dishes, and an amazing food-overload nap. Just make sure you don’t fall into a boring routine. If silently eating with your family is close to bonding as you’re going to get, and half the time you and your sibling(s) are texting or on Facebook, the day doesn’t seem quite special. Christmas is about being with your loved ones after all. So suggesting a LOTR marathon to get some serious family time in, or showing your parents all the funniest YouTube videos you found lately can give a nice change of pace. Plus, both of these options lower the possibility of your parents giving you the “What do you plan to do with your life”/“How’s school going” inquisition. It’s just a good time.

So this holiday season, Marauders, try and make the best of things. Christmas may not be stress free, but with a little forward thinking, I’m sure you’ll make it.

Merry Christmas!

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