The holidays can be a veritable disaster area for a man without a road map. How many times have you found yourself thick in December festivities, and before you know it, it’s January and you’ve got more regrets than you do presents? Time to put on some holiday cheer (borrow it, if you must) and we will show you how to make it to January as painlessly as possible.
Survive The Parties
There are two kinds of parties: the family-oriented kind, and the fun-oriented variety. Unless you happen to enjoy listening to avuncular “Back-when-I-was-a-young” stories, it would be best you stick to the latter kind of party. Yes, alcohol will most likely be served. Some level of intoxication would not only be welcomed, but also expected.
If you are a teetotaller, having to explain to a few dozen separate strangers how much you value your liver and brain cells would probably not be anyone’s idea of fun. Just for the holidays, stick a sock in your moral indignation and tote something that at least looks as if it might be alcoholic. Sparkling water or apple cider is an old standby. If you’re at a restaurant, mocktails should be found on the menu.
If you’re single during the festive season, the holiday circuit is one big social mixer with lots of opportunities. Women are everywhere, but remember that pick-up lines generally don’t work when slobbered out in an alcoholic stupor. So try not to imbibe to the extent of foolishness (unless it you intend to go home happy, but alone). A good greasy meal before you start drinking helps to line the stomach and slow the absorption of alcohol, and drinking on an empty stomach is always a bad idea. Switching to water between each alcoholic drink only means peeing a lot more, and consequently, drinking a lot less.
If you plan to drink, we are obliged to advise you not to drive. The designated driver rule should be decided well in advance of the party. If you already have friends who are teetotallers, you are set. Invite them to everything. Even if you are hosting, they make inexpensive space-fillers since water is significantly cheaper than alcohol.
Surviving The Crowds
One has to wonder how the economy chugs on when it seems as if just about everyone and their neighbour is on holiday weeks in advance of Christmas. How else can you explain the swarms of people inundating the golden stretch from Orchard Road to City Hall?
Beat the crowds by finishing your holiday shopping before December. Failing this, online shopping is a decent alternative. Do factor in shipping time conservatively if you expect your purchases to be delivered before the big day. High-order volume can set delivery dates back by weeks.
The good news is that merchants who are reluctant to move the remnants of this year’s products into the next calendar year are likely to slash prices and throw in shipping discounts. As long as you are not gunning for the latest hot item, and manufacturers do release new products during the holidays – you are likely to find electronics released earlier in the year at as little as half the original price.
Surviving The Family Get-Together
Holidays and funerals may be just about the only times you get to see the whole clan under one roof – and for some of you, it may already be too much. So if you are unable to make the best of it, at least make it as painless as possible. If you can, arrange to have events organised around activities. Even watching the football game on television with the other men in the family is enough of an activity to get you out of the need to attempt meaningful conversations with cousins you have nothing in common with. At a barbecue, make yourself inextricable from the cooking. At a buffet, constantly offer to get seconds for the table.
If you have a girlfriend – or better yet, a wife and kids – this is the time to guilt out obligations to accompany you to said family events. Nothing tests the strength of a relationship in the way a family event does. It is at times such as these that you would be glad to have gone for personality over looks. If you are single, guilt works on friends too. Remind your best female mate about the last time you helped her fix her plumbing or move her shelves. If your family ends up loving her, and it turns out to be the best non-date you have ever had, seriously consider marriage.