3 Ways to Survive the Holidays

So it’s hard to believe it, at least for me, but the holidays are upon us. In fact, we only have five weeks until Christmas. That is crazy!

And it’s not just Christmas itself that’s crazy, right? It’s the whole holiday season. Five weeks of chaos. You’ve got to get all of the gifts, hang all of the decorations, attend all of the parties, and hang with all of the family.

So considering everything we have to deal with during the holidays, we’ve come up with a handy Holiday Survival Guide. Just three small pro-tips that can make Christmas less crazy.

First up, this one is for the parents. Do not take the Elf on the Shelf out storage. Leave him in the basement. Just tell your kids he’s taking a year off.

Now, I think this elf thing started out as harmless fun for the kiddos. But somewhere along the line, the whole elf thing turned from fun into a blood sport. Because it’s not really about wowing the kids, right? No, it’s really all about one-upping other parents’ elfin scenarios. C’mon, we can be honest here.

Listen, the elf activity competition is fierce. The Olympics have nothing on this sport. Parents are just scrolling through Instragram or Snapchat and are like, “Babe! Paul had his kid’s elf repelling down the side of their townhome with a flamethrower making s’mores, so now we need to get a drone so our elf can skydive down our chimney and deliver gifts.” CRAZY. The elf has moved way off the shelf. So save yourself the stress and leave the elf in the box.

But even if you’re not participating in the UFC of Christmastime, we have some other survival tips.

Next, wherever you go this holiday season, you’re going to need a red coffee cup. Look, Starbucks tried to get creative last year by mixing things up and changing the cup palette. Which is cool, right? Uh, NO. People generally lost their minds when they saw these cups. We’re talking boycotts. It was like, “Hey Starbucks, if I wanted a lame coffee cup I would’ve gone to the Race Trac.” Because basically, the red cup is the holiday equivalent to an “I voted” sticker: If you don’t have the cup, Christmas ISN’T HAPPENING. Because Christmas needs that Starbucks co-sign. Fortunately Christmas still happened. Barely.

Well, apparently people on Facebook showed Starbucks what’s up, because this year they have, like, 50 different red cups. Apology accepted, guys! So now when you go to that Christmas party, you don’t have to hide your Gingerbread Latte in your Yeti. Christmas is back! WOOOO!

Okay, we’ve got the cup thing handled. Final tip, and this is a big one: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch Christmas movies. No, no. Look, I love Christmastime. Christmas movies, though? Those things can mess you up.

Who here loves watching The Holiday? C’mon, don’t try to act like you’re too cool for The Holiday. You’re probably watching it next weekend.

For the few of you who don’t know, The Holiday’s plot is simple. You’re got one character, played by Cameron Diaz (remember her?) who lives in Los Angeles. She’s a bigwig in the movie industry. The other main character, played by Kate Winslet, lives in London. She’s a columnist. They both live in beautiful places, but they need a change of scenery. So, not knowing each other, they both log-on to a house-swapping website where you can house-swap with other people. With strangers. Big-time creepy, right?

No, not creepy at all, as it turns out. They are both all about letting a stranger crash solo at their place for a couple of weeks. Sight-unseen, the key’s-in-the-mailbox, have-a-great-time-not-going-through-my stuff. And Jude Law shows up looking very Jude-Lawish and tells Cameron that he’s a 12 on the Sensitive meter and cries recreationally more than anyone she knows. Mainly because of Hallmark cards. Got that?

There’s some other stuff that happens, but that’s the Wikipedia version of the story. Will this movie make you feel better about life? I’m going to volunteer, no. It might just make you reassess life in general.

But that’s not only modern-day Christmas classic on notice. I don’t even need a show of hands for this one. Love, Actually. That’s right. One of the most popular Christmas movies ever.

But here’s the thing: this movie is a big downer. Whoa, whoa, I know. I watch it every year, too. But listen: this is super-depressing movie wrapped in mistletoe. Right off the bat, there’s a funeral. A musician’s career has expired. Someone is cheated on. A marriage is in trouble. This happens in, like, the first 20 minutes.

Now to be fair, the movie does have some uplifting moments. After two hours of emotional turmoil, the last 30 minutes finally deliver the rom-com goods. And one dude gets to date Claudia Schiffer, so there’s that.

But my point is this. Christmastime has plenty of drama in the real world. You’ve got family get-togethers. You’re trying to figure out a date situation for the office Christmas party at Dave & Busters. You’re traveling. You may have to visit multiple houses on Christmas day. It’s a lot. So our advice? Skip the Christmas movies and save the drama for the white elephant exchange at work.