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Surviving the holiday season

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Photo by Jonathan D. Lopez

By Sean Walker – Collegiate Staff

It goes without saying that the Christmas season is one of the busiest times of the year. Cards and letters, carols and songs, agonizingly long shopping lines, bitterly cold weather—you often feel like you’re going to lose your mind. Relax, weary shopper, you needn’t get so worked up about everything. Gather up the kids, folks, it’s time for the beloved Christmas story about surviving the holiday rush.

Survival Tip #1: Time your shopping trips as perfectly as possible.

The biggest hype of Christmas is the shopping crazes happening all over. Shopping doesn’t need to be crazy; all you need to do is plan everything out ahead of time. Research discounts and retail hours of operation to make the most of your time, and keep an eye out for savage shoppers. Things can get ugly when shoppers duke it out for the same item, and people have been known to endure serious injuries from such incidents. If a similar situation arises, steer clear and stay safe.

Survival Tip #2: Limit the amount of music you listen to.

Christmas songs are quite catchy, guaranteed to get stuck in your head in one play. While it may be fun at first, listening to the likes of “Baby it’s Cold Outside” and “All I Want for Christmas is You” over and over again will eventually drive you insane. Remember, Christmas won’t be here for another couple of weeks, and that’s enough time for music to irritate you. Give yourself a limit, or you’ll get a headache so bad no amount of eggnog will ease the pain.

Survival Tip #3: Act like you are enjoying family time.

At its core, Christmas is about family, which means family get-togethers. It can be hard to navigate such things if you have a crazy aunt or annoying young cousin or any family member you’re not particularly fond of. There’s one in every family, so it’s best to make the most of it. Trapped in conversation? Pretend to be interested. Locked in a massive bear-hug? Hug them back and try not to squirm. It’ll make the ride smoother for everyone (in theory, anyway).

Survival Tip #4: Coordinate with family and friends on gifts.

The most embarrassing moments on Christmas occur when you get the perfect gift for someone only to find out they already got the same exact gift from another person. Collaboration is the key to avoiding this gift exchange catastrophe. Share with others what you’re getting for one person so that they know what else they can look for, and treat the subject with more secrecy than a government spy operation.

Survival Tip #5: Breathe!

There’s a lot that goes into a good Christmas, but don’t let everything overwhelm you. Draw up a battle plan for what you have to do and how to do it, and take the whole thing one step at a time. You won’t do much good if you’re rushing yourself, and no one wants to hear you spouting out curses in the same fashion as Mr. Parker from “A Christmas Story.” Tackle shopping, decorating, and everything else in separate stages, and you’ll keep up the jolly spirit with ease.

Survival Tip #6: Enjoy!

Above all, make the holiday season your own thing. Do some outside-the-box thinking and make traditions more interesting and appealing for yourself and others. Adding your own touch makes the season brighter than any amount of tree lights. Also, cherish every moment; Christmas is one of those times when you get every member of your extended family in one place, which is rare for the rest of the year. Even if your relatives are crazier than Buddy the Elf, they are still family, so make it special. If push comes to shove and you’re nearing that breaking point, pop in a holiday movie to sooth yourself; it’s more calming than hot chocolate.

Enjoy the season, it’s a wonderful time!