Five Golden Rules for Surviving the Holiday Season

Happy holidays, y’all! The great festive season is upon us, bursting with trees and carols and tinsel and mistletoe. It’s a truly wonderful time. But you know what isn’t so wonderful? The overwhelming stress, anxiety, and exhaustion that can result from trying to contend with the social demands of the Yuletide period. This season is not for amateurs, and it’s easy to be swept away by the great tide of happy hours, cocktail parties, festive outings, and more that crash into one’s Facebook come December 1st. Whether you’re an extroverted holiday lover like Zelda, or a more gathering averse but equally festive introvert like Scout, December can be a lot. So we teamed up with Casper and pooled our mental resources to come up with five golden rings rules to get you through the next few weeks relatively unscathed — with your social circle, Christmas spirit, and mental health intact.

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1. Plan ahead. The key to avoiding holiday-festivity-overload is to make a list, check it twice, and stick to it. Whether you go digital or hard copy is up to your personal preferences, but either way you need to get organized. And make sure you take into account transit between events. In an ideal world, your itinerary would start with the event farthest from your home and proceed in an orderly fashion, closer and closer to your bed. If this isn’t possible, assemble a team of rogues to travel with, for solidarity and to lessen the inevitable pain of shelling out for an end-of-night Uber.

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2. Prioritize. Even the most well-organized social butterfly will not be able to attend every function, gift exchange, and ice skating foray of the month. It’s okay to excuse yourself from that one ugly sweater party you know you don’t have the outfit for anyway. Pick the ones that you care most about, with the people you care most about, and be ok with that. (We made this post instead of our regularly scheduled All the Fixin’s, because we prioritized our own time this week. Trying to lead by example and all that). And pro tip: Try to stack the events you’re most interested in (or the ones hosted by those nearest and dearest to you) earlier in your day/evening, when you’re less likely to bail because of exhaustion.

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3. Pre-stock your bar. Let’s face it, all this socializing and carrying on and spending time with your family is going to require libations. So before your holiday season gets into full swing, buy a case of wine for hostess gifts and a fifth of bourbon (or other preferred liquor) for your flask. You’ll make it through. (Pro tip number two: Liquor and wine also make great last-minute gifts for any friends, acquaintances, or co-workers (of legal drinking age) who spring the dreaded “Here, I got you something!” on your unprepared self. We also recommend picking up a pack of stick-on bows; they work wonders when transforming any item in your household into a seasonal present.)

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4. Don’t be a mooch. That’s right, y’all, we said hostess gifts. If your mama raised you right, you know that it is rude to show up unprepared. Your hosts have invited you into their homes, decked their halls, gone to the trouble of preparing food and beverages (or at the very least an appropriate playlist). Bring a bottle of something boozy, or a festive treat (or if you’re going for extra credit, check out one of the items on Zelda’s 2016 Gift Guide!). Don’t make the ghost of Emily Post past haunt your ass: She will (she was a badass). And she’ll make you send her a “Thank you” note within a week of said haunting. Manners matter, children.

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5. Make time for me-time. Last but not least, make like the bears and be sure you hibernate a little this winter. Even the most extroverted of extroverts needs time to rest and recharge. The holiday season is a marathon, people, and there’s no way you’re going to be at your merriest and brightest if you’re running on zero sleep and too much mulled wine. Weekends packed full of parties? Set aside some weeknights to regroup. Weeknights full of office parties and gift exchanges? Reserve at least one weekend night this month for you, yourself, and some cozy fun.  And for maximum relaxation, allow us to suggest the above checklist! Pour yourself some cocoa, get under the covers, and turn on your favorite holiday classic (top of our list is White Christmas, guaranteed to chase all your humbugs away). There’s nothing like a pillow fort for a long winter’s nap.

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