If you are reading this post I must congratulate you on surviving Christmas!!!
Way to go!!! Woo Hoo!! You did it!!!
Wether you have a ‘perfect’ family tradition that seems to flow smoothly and freely, with little effort at all (which would mean your name is either Mary Poppins, or Martha Stewart, and you can go straight to hell!) or you were subjected to a ‘less than desirable’ family affair, you know how difficult the holidays can be! So, give yourself a pat on the back, you managed to make it through in one piece! (although for some the hangover you are suffering may be part of a bittersweet accomplishment)
In-laws, and cousins, sisters and step-parents, the gatherings of the holiday season can be overwhelming at times. (to say the least) With deep-fried turkeys, baked, boiled, and burnt. Potatoes, presents, pizza, and pie… you survived, and that is another reason to celebrate!!
Granted, you probably consumed a minimum of 3,000 calories, according to Diet Bites. That is with less than the sites listed amount of food, some of which consists of; 1 cup of stuffing, 1 cup of gravy, 6 ounces of turkey, 1 cup of mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup of Cranberry sauce, 2 buttered rolls, and 2 glasses of wine. (click the link above to see the entire list of foods and calories)
If the fact that you consumed more calories in one meal than some people do in an entire day is not stress enough, there are often presents that need to be returned. Oh don’t act so innocent… you know you hate that ugly sweater Aunt Betty got you, or that grill from Grandma Genie, you know, the exact-same grill she gave you last Christmas, you also know where they came from, and what you would rather have received. Returning these unwanted, less than thoughtful, gifts means; long lines, tired mothers with candy-high children who are eager to get their spoiled butt home to the plethora of new toys, games, and gadgets Santa left for them under the tree, grumpy, tired, and obnoxious customers arguing over return policies, and even grumpier customer services clerks arguing right back. It means congested roads, stupid drivers, and over packed malls with ‘over priced’ sales. It means not only returning the improper item, but often going out in search of something to replace it with. This also means thinking up a lie for when the ‘gifter’ arrives for a visit and asks, (while suspiciously looking around your home) “Did you like the (snot green,ugly, or useless) crystal bowl we got you for Christmas?” While you sit, sweating on the couch trying to look innocent as you figure out how to hide the new T.V. mounted on your wall in plain sight!
There is always the option of re-gifting those undesirable items that (obviously thoughtless) family members chose to present you with. If you are a re-gifter it is important that you take note, and remember ‘who gave you what gift.’ I once witnessed a very awkward moment where a re-gifter friend of mine, re-gifted a gift to the original gifter!!! Ummm… Awkward!!! With re-gifting you run the risk of looking like the ‘thoughtless gifter’ yourself as well, so it may be best to only re-gift ‘unwanted’ or ‘tasteless’ items to those which you don’t value their opinion. Also be sure you check for, and remove, any old tags from the item you are re-gifting. Another awkward situation can arise if the gift receiver opens their gift to find a tag reading ‘To: Shelly From: Jane’ and their name is Amanda! So be very careful when choosing to re-gift, it can be more tasteless and tacky than the original gift itself.
If all these thoughts don’t cause you to down a very large bottle of wine, very quickly, as you sit crying in the bathroom, door locked, and sappy music blaring, there is also the added stress of the boxing day sales, everywhere!! I could never figure out why anyone thinks shopping on boxing day is a good idea. Sure, you can sometimes find great items at alow price, but the real bargains are often found at the end of the ‘boxing week.’ For me, fighting through the crowds is not worth the couple of bucks I can save on most items. For bigger items you may decide it is worth the savings, and opt to face the fury, if choosing to shop on boxing day it is important that you are prepared for anything, because all that is crazy, out-of-control, and just plain ludicrous, can, and will, be seen while out shopping on boxing day. If you thought Christmas shopping at Walmart was bad, be prepared for the same cart ramming, fist fighting, profanity shouting chaos, times 100!! You must bring your patience when shopping on or around boxing day, it is usually best to hire a babysitter and leave the kids at home if at all possible. Strollers and large crowds are not a good combination, and it will only lead to elevated stress levels in all aspects, on all involved. You must also remember to consider how much of a deal you are actually getting before you purchase an item, be sure you know the regular price of the item, and how much you will save if you are buying it during a boxing week sale. Through years of working, and shopping retail I learned that there are many ways a store can create the illusion of savings that are not actually there. One of the most common ways of doing this is to advertise a large percentage sale (Such as 50% off) and then add the words “the original price.” When you are taking a percentage off a ‘sale’ item (or the lowest ticketed price) you are clearly saving money, but when you remove a percentage off the ‘original price’ often times it turns out that the amount you are saving is very minor, especially after you factor in taxes, and the time you spent awaiting the purchase itself. The other important factors in boxing day shopping are 1) to plan your shopping route ahead of time. There is nothing worse than driving back and forth in boxing day traffic, in the exact fashion that driving in Christmas traffic is terrible, as is driving here-and-there in boxing day traffic (perhaps worse when you factor in all the young drivers who just got cash for Christmas and are now out driving around looking to spend it) and 2) the longer you wait to shop the lower the price will be! Retail stores ‘need’ to move inventory after Christmas to make room for the new seasons items, they will do this by first listing a sale price that seems to be a good deal to quickly sell off as many items as possible on the busiest shopping day which is boxing day itself. They will then proceed to lower this sale price repeatedly until the items are sold out, and there is room for the new stock to hit the sales floor. (This is the sole reason I choose to shop at the end of boxing week. I save more money, and I don’t have the stress of miserable people, long lines, and insane crowds in tight spaces!)
The snowball of stress comes to a peak with the New Year fast approaching. If Christmas with the family, gift returns with disgruntled customer service reps, and boxing day shopping chaos wasn’t enough to drive you mad, you have one last chance of winning an all expenses paid vacation at the local loony bin with New Years Eve’s extravaganza! The beauty of this event is that you don’t have to go anywhere to feel stress unless you choose to. Opting to stay home often effects no one but you! Your friends and family will ‘understand’ that you decided to stay in and enjoy a quiet night, they will still be able to venture out enjoy the party without you… In fact, by staying in you probably provided them with hours of entertainment, and deep discussion on how much of a loner, loser, snob, baby, geek, suck, and/or bitch, you are for not showing up to start the New Year with a bang! If you do decide to go out for the night you will pay too much money for any venue you plan to attend, any daycare you may require, any dress you decide to purchase, and any beverage you choose to drink. If you opt to attend a house party, rather than a orgainized event, it is almost guaranteed that either you, your date, or one of your friends, will get way too drunk, kiss a stranger at midnight, or ring in the new year on the bathroom floor. The stress then increases with the size of your hangover New Years Day, the realisation that you are out of Aspirin and everything is closed, and the number of children who require your care and attention first thing in the morning.
The good news is, you survived Christmas with all the chaos and the drama it entails! That is a victory you should be proud of, and once you make it through the anarchy that is the beginning of the New Year you will be set and ready for a fresh start…. Then all you have to do is choose, and stick to, those New Years resolutions!
How hard could that be, right?
After all you are a survivor!!!