How I Survive The Holidays

How I Survive the Holidays

This is not my typical Sunday Stitch post. There ain’t no yarn, video, needles, or hooks anywhere in this one. But I do feel like I have some important tips that could save your life, keep you from committing triple homicide, help some people survive the coming month. Let’s face it, the holidays are not for the wimpy. It seems to get tougher every year and every year, after Thanksgiving has come and gone, I have to put on my Big Girl Panties and face the coming Christmas season.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no green-skinned Christmas-hating Grinch. In my heart I like Christmas. It has real, spiritual meaning for me. I would have a grand old month in December if I could somehow manage to avoid the entire human race. My troubles come from them, those human types, and they are freaking everywhere. At Christmas season, humans are chock full of anxiety and all that anxiety is contagious, like yawns. This is the month that anxiety causes perfectly normal people get into their cars, pull out onto public roads, and try to murder each other just to get the mall. This is the month where a search for a missing extension cord, which you desperately need to plug in the sparkly lights over your doorway, will make you go through all that junk in the corner of your garage and you have been avoiding that mess for years.  This is the month where you will actually go to the store, after dark, fighting murderous drivers on their way to the mall, to buy another glue stick (the old one you were counting was found to be all dried up of course) just so some wretched child can glue their misshapen cut-out snowflake to a big piece of green construction paper.

Yes all of you people make me anxious. Here is how I deal with that:

How I Survive The Holidays

  1. Get a notebook and start making lists. Write down everything you need to do, should do, and want to do. Include all the relevant details about where you will go, what you will buy, who you need to call, etc. Then take that notebook and throw it out. You’re not going to get half of that stuff done, not even if you gave up sleep and took up snorting crack cocaine. Writing it all down will help you to realize that, accept that, and move on to simply handling each holiday emergency as it pops up in front of your face. Ignore everything else.
  2. Don’t start any new knitting or crochet projects for anyone but yourself. If you are already working on something for someone else, consider burying in a corner of your closet until after the holidays. I don’t know about you but the very second a project becomes something I HAVE to make, I resent it. Also, every person you know, every single one of them, will get on your nerves this month. When you find yourself knitting on a shawl late into the evening because you have to have it in the mail by the end of the week AND that person is getting on your nerves, it will make you grumpy.  You will hate that shawl and everything about it. Stitching and playing with yarn is your happy-fun-play time. Don’t go ruining that much needed therapy at a time of year when you need it the most! So give up all pretense of finishing Christmas knitting/crochet now. Spend this season working on stuff for you and you alone.
  3. Lie to get out of the stuff you don’t want to do. I could tell you that you should cultivate the strength of character to gently but firmly tell people “no”. I won’t bother. We both know that’s crappy advice because no one on earth is tough enough to say no when faced with their mother/a child/their pastor/their boss. So here is what you should do when those powerful figures in your life are demanding that you take one one more thing: lie your butt off.
    • You can’t go to your boss’ party because you promised to deliver 6 home cooked meals to shut-ins that evening.
    • You can’t make Christmas cupcakes for the entire kindergarten class by tomorrow morning because your boss needs you to play hostess at his party tonight.
    • You would love to deliver 6 home cooked meals to shut-ins for your church but your kid just told you that she promised you’d make cupcakes for her entire class by 8 AM.
    • As for lying to your mother…. you are on your own. I can’t help because my success rate at that is approximately zero percent. But I haven’t given up trying!
  4. Don’t spend too much time with people you don’t like. See Tip #3 and avoid them. This is the time of year when perfect strangers will make you want to hurl threats and insults. You have no business spending time with anyone you already know is a jerk. After all, you are stressed out and running on 3 hours of sleep. So unless you have the patience of a saint, you will loose your temper with that jerk, say something fabulously cutting and wicked, and end up being a jerk too. Therefore when you do find yourself this season stuck in an extended social situation with a jerk try saying this: “I’m sorry but my mom just texted to say that her glue stick is dried up and I need to go to the store, while fighting murderous drivers on their way to the mall, to buy another just so some wretched child can glue their misshapen cut-out snowflake to a big piece of green construction paper. I’ll catch you after the holidays.” Then leave.
  5. Drink an ocean of chamomile tea. Other people drink alcohol to relax but that just makes a person feel crappy the next day. Chamomile is better. I know all the other tips above are snarky and you will probably dismiss them. But I’m serious about this one; chamomile really is great for managing stress and anxiety. Here are just some of its health benefits: it relieves tension headaches, it helps you relax, its relieves stomach cramps, it can help you sleep, and best of all it boosts the immune system. You are going to get over-tired and over-stressed. You will be vulnerable to every flu virus that floats past your nose. So drink chamomile and give your body a fighting chance.


That’s the end of my attempt at some worldly wisdom. I truly do some of these things myself and they help me cope. I make lists and then forget them. While I may not lie to every person when faced with a new holiday duty, I do lie to some of them! I may not give up all stitching for other people this time of year but I mostly work of stuff for me. And I drink pots and pots of chamomile tea. Yes it has no flavor and yes it seems like I’m simply drinking hot water. But this is magical hot water and it helps me to keep all the crazy, spiteful, grumpy things I want to say behind my teeth.



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17 Comments on "How I Survive The Holidays"

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Too funny! You made me laugh, and my dog’s giving me a weird look. I work retail, so Christmas craziness is in my face every working minute.

Fran C.

Wow, somebody else feels the way I do. Number 4 has a special ring to it and I now have a perfect excuse to go along with my absence. Thanks Pal!


Wow you really nailed it! Still laughing and glad someone else feels the way I do. I’ll need to work on 2 and 4. They seem to be my downfall. Thanks for the suggestion on the tea. I’ve used it at bedtime with a little honey but I think I’ll stock up for the holidays.

I’m giggling about the glue stick! My daughter is grown and out of the house and my husband left me because my addiction to spinning wheel acquisition and fleece made its presence known in every room. And he didn’t get it. (Yay) So I’m alone making Christmas present decorations from leftover bits of handspun yarn. I. Really. Need. That. Danged. Glue stick! My best guess is that it’s under all the piles of paper on my desk. My dilemma. Clean up the mess and take the chance the thing isn’t dried up or should I put on a bullet proof… Read more »

Great advice! I have a billion things to do before my cut off date of Dec 19. A home to decorate, a million cookies to bake, packages to wrap, cards to address, a ton of cleaning, company coming. And 2 cats.
Christmas always turns out great even if some of the stuff doesn’t get done.
Hint: the cleaning may just get a swipe and a promise. After all, the cats spend most their time evenly distributing all that hair. In the interest of added warmth on the floors. Or so they say.