Twenty essential tips for surviving the 2013 holiday season


Now that December has arrived, the real holiday season has begun. That means all decorating, music or shopping that occurred before Dec. 1 does not count, at least not as holiday decorating, music or shopping.

It also means that any tips for coping with the season imparted before Dec. 1 are equally invalid. And that is too bad because while the holidays can be an exciting and comforting time, they also bring a double helping of stress and anxiety.

To fill the gap, we present some timely and practical advice for coping with the 2013 Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/New Year’s/Festivus/Bowl season.

• For those who get home delivery, remember that when picking up the Sunday paper, lift with your knees, not your back.

• Hurry to take advantage of the great values in Macy’s Biggest One-Day Sale because they won’t come around again until … the next day.

• Extensive background checks by department stores and shopping malls assure that those portraying Santa Claus do not have criminal records. They cannot, however, assure that they don’t have halitosis.

• By the way, that’s not Santa on the roof, it’s Jeff Bezos.

• Disappointment can be lessened by having realistic expectations. I mean, isn’t the 70-inch LED TV big enough?

• Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are completely normal during the holiday season. Thinking that the Elf On The Shelf is moved every night by the NSA is not. Get some help.

• It’s OK for your 12-year-old daughter to still believe in Santa Claus. It is definitely not OK for your 48-year-old brother-in-law to still believe in Santa Claus. Tell him to get a job.

• We have Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. That means there are still a few days left for tidings of comfort and joy.

• Jesus is the reason for the season. That, and buying as much stuff as possible and running up your credit cards to levels comparable to the national debt.

• Natural Christmas trees are not recyclable if they have been sprayed with flocking. If you want a tree that is fully recyclable, stick with aluminum.

• Please consider the effect your massive holiday lighting display has on the power grid. Be considerate and use LED bulbs, and think about purchasing the Craftsman home nuclear reactor from Sears.

• Sometimes a warm greeting can be enough to lift someone’s spirits during the stress and consumerism of the season. Be mindful, though, that wishing some people “Happy Holidays” might get you an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

• Nothing is as rewarding as helping the less fortunate and destitute during the holidays. A close second, however, is getting the Xbox 360 Limited Edition 4GB with Kinect Bundle.

• Santa knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good. Which means he also knows where you keep the good silver so it might be wise to put it in the safe before you turn in on Christmas Eve.

• Instead of physical gifts, think about simply telling loved ones how much they mean to you. Such a gift will leave lasting memories … of what a cheapskate you are.

• There’s nothing better than getting a form letter in a holiday card from people you barely know. Wait, actually there’s nothing worse. I always get that mixed up.

• Speaking of Christmas cards, no one has ever opened an ecard. No one.

• Just to be safe, try to limit yourself to two drinks and two career-limiting moves at the office party.

• Rather than bake all of those different Christmas cookies yourself, it’s sometimes fun to set up a cookie exchange with friends and neighbors. It is especially fun if one of your neighbors was chairman of the initiative campaign to legalize marijuana.

I hope this helps.

Peter Callaghan can be reached at peter.callaghan@


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