10. Make a list.
The list is pointless. You know this, I know this. Because no matter how many cookies you bake, pecans your chop, presents you wrap, offspring you shuttle around to various performances or end-of-year dentist appointments so you max out your insurance benefits, since dammit you pay for that, it’s important you make a list so it’s all accomplished. Then burn the list to the ground, because though you dropped your kid off at school for her choir rehearsal, the 9 o’clock phone call from the school telling you’re your 12-year-old is still waiting to be picked up will remind you just how very much your list failed.
9. Don’t over commit.
You overcommit anyway. Writing deadlines, bake-sale pressure, school-volunteering at the Elf Shelf—lest you be judged by THOSE parents, shuttle driver for all the kids in your carpool, and then the normal holiday protocol: husband’s work party, neighbor’s gingerbread house wars (yes this is a thing and I won’t be defeated by a 10-year-old and her overpriced Costco-inspired display), family obligations, freaking waiting in line for the annual obligatory visit to the fat-man at the only place in town with reasonable (under $100) picture packages. It’s not like he’s going to give me anything good under the tree. No, I took care of that list at Costco yesterday.
8. Spend time with family.
Sure, family. The only people in the world who really matter. But as the current slave, chauffeur, chef, physiatrist, referee, burnt-out suburban housewife with three jobs, I chose to do my family-time the way my mother did . . . with vodka in hand. Although, watching Elf with a bucket of popcorn and hot chocolate does have a certain appeal. Bailey’s goes perfect in that hot cocoa.
7. Read a good book.
Or like me, read the same paragraph seventeen-frickin-times because “MOOOOOOOM, your blankey-blank daughter who should have never been born will not get out of my room” is an incessant hammer-to-brain progression that drowns out even the best Nora Robert’s read.
6. Play stress-relieving music.
Perhaps some classic holiday Bing Cosby.
Bing who? I prefer noise-canceling headphones so the voices in my head can constantly ask me, “Four kids, Deb? Did you really mean to have four? And so many girls? You know they all cycle at the same time, right? They fight like starving banshees who only want to tear each other apart in good ol’ Conan-the-Barbarian fashion.” Well, they seemed like a good idea at the time. All cute, and cuddly, and sweet. Music to my ears will be when they all move out and become college graduates with fabulous careers, because I’m moving in with one of them and she is going to SUFFER when I call “switch”.
They say it’s a relaxing activity most women enjoy. Until you no longer can hear your overly busy son, and you go looking for him, only to find he has turned on the car in the garage and is not only slowly killing himself, but he’s also broke the key in the engine mound so you need to open the garage for clean air, while simultaneously calling your husband for help. No worry, the fire department is pulling up, because while you were trying to save your son, you forgot your cookies were melting the pan in the oven, that you set at 500 degrees, not 350, and yes, the smoke alarm DOES work. Thank God for Felix and his sexy turn-outs because I bet his mother never made him cookies…not with that chiseled jaw line and guns for muscles. Unlike the mess you are, since you know . . . you’re not wearing a bra and your hair looks a little Marge Simpson meets Janice Joplin…. I take that back, don’t bake.
4. Do all your shopping online.
Let’s face it. You’re already on your computer 90% of the time. Why would you leave the comfort of your home for anything—let alone shop for ungrateful people who will probably judge your gift anyway. Safe gifts that everyone will love are as follows: cash. I guarantee they won’t regift that one.
3. Lower your holiday expectations.
Actually, lower all your expectations in general. We Americans are too hard on ourselves. We take on way too much, care incessantly what others think, spend endless dollars on creams and other worldly witchcraft to reduce the look of stress under our eyes, and pop more pills in the name of sanity than we probably want to admit. So, try to relax. I promise your presence is presents enough.
Oh, this one is easy. A little less indifference, and a lot more love. It will help you see your holidays with a lot more ease.
1. Go with it.
Seriously, be gentle with yourselves. The holidays are stressful enough without you treating yourself less than what you deserve. The holidays are not the time for you to take full inventory and decide that you don’t add up. Because you do. We all have areas for improvement, but for now, through the end of the year, just be gentle. Unless you want Felix in his sexy turnouts to pay you a visit. Then feel free to bake some cookies. Set the oven to 500 degrees.
Love Me, Love Me Knot