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You Too Can Survive The Holidays

By Anne T. Donahue

We’ve made it! Another year! Another cycle of gift guides! Endless Marriage Story, Cats, and Baby Yoda memes! (My favourite things, don’t ever take them from me.) Debate about Star Wars! Which means we’re also smack dab in the middle of some real shit: the holidays. Get-togethers and family time and friend things and gift exchanges, and no real end in sight no matter how much we might wish for it to come (at least sometimes).

So this is my survival guide for you. Which I type as I sit here, sipping ginger ale, and wearing a sweat suit because my holidays will be largely defined by recovering from the car crash I got in back in November so soft, comfy clothes are the only acceptable type. Also: very soft jumpsuits. Meaning that my words of advice are real and true and come from the heart. You will not find aromatherapy or meditation here. Instead, you will find the things I intend on doing to feel sane and together and less like the mess the holidays can sometimes make me feel like.

Comfort over everything
It shouldn’t take getting into an accident on the 401 for me to realize this, but it did and here we are. You know how I feel about wearing something you don’t want to wear? Terrible. You know how I feel about wearing something that makes you feel comfortable? Terrific. And so, this is the Christmas I will wear primarily very soft things and very, very soft things. Everything else can fuck off, and so can anybody who has an issue with my wardrobe consisting primarily of sweat suits. Which is a message I relay to you: you want to wear jammies all day on Christmas, impending party or not? Go forth. You want to wear sparkles and a dress with heels? Knock yourself out. The only hard and fast rule: wear something in which you can comfortably bloat. Everything else is garbage. Fitted slacks can go to hell.

Go home when you want (see: after dinner)
I mean, if you’re over for dinner, stay for dinner. Don’t be rude, somebody cooked for you. But you want to bail shortly after? It’s fine. Everyone’s full. People are tired. You’re not going to ruin the vibe if you roll home because you’re seconds from popping handfuls of ginger pills and worrying out loud that you might be sick because you ate so fast. Nobody wants to hear it, and nobody asked you to be a martyr. Bless your heart, make a peppermint tea, and watch White Christmasin a onesie you will inevitably pass out in.

Go home (or don’t go at all) if you’re sick
Let’s say it together because I need to remind myself: if you are sick, you are helping nobody by bringing your sickness to a home filled with people. You are not brave, you are not extraordinary. You are about to infect a bunch of poor souls for the sole purpose of not being a buzzkill. One year, one family member infected all of uswith actual influenza and within two days we were all on death’s door. I am giving you important permission to not attend anything if you feel like you might die. And if you’ve been throwing up? I better not see you anywhere near me or those I love because to inflict your virus on me is something I consider a hostile act. And I will tell everybody what you did and steal all your presents over the course of the next year.

Make no goals
I don’t mean resolutions (though I hate them), but I do mean “I will achieve this over the holidays!” Stop. Stop it. This is a week. No one is expecting anything, and nobody knows what day it is. You want to read? Read. You want to shop? Shop. You want to lay completely still and think about where it all went wrong? Go forth. But every year I’ve vowed to read all the books I’m behind on reading or all the TV shows I need to catch up on, I fail miserably and then spend the week feeling weird about re-watching Bake Off for the millionth time. Last year, I said I was going to watch all the old movies I’ve been dying to watch and I tweeted about it, and then I watched one. (One!) And never returned to the thread again. So spare yourself. Just do whatever. Time isn’t real, and we’re all very tired. Especially me, but especially you.

Gorge yourself when you see fit
And finally, here’s this: I am very tired of hearing about healthy food and calories and wellness and anything even related, as most of us are in the year 2019. So for the love of all that is good, eat what you fucking want. Don’t justify it. Eat the shrimp. Eat the stuffing. Eat the chocolate. You’re alive, and that’s what matters. You will not die if you have the gravy. You will die if you drink it every day (because you will be dehydrated as we need water to live), but two helpings on your mashed potatoes? Come on. Get serious. Three helpings? Yes, absolutely. Four? Only if you’re using it as a type of dip while standing next to the table, not quite ready to leave. Five? Stop hogging the gravy, I need some.

It’s only a week, and you’ve got this: happy holidays.

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