I like to approach the holiday season armed and ready for combat, which basically means stocking up on booze sometime in mid-November.
As a kid, I dreaded the endless string of Christmasrelated engagements. As an adult, I’m not so obligated to attend. And yet, for six to eight weeks every year, I find my weekends crowded with celebratory brunches, barbeques, and backyard ‘shindigs’ swarming with unknown children – where do they all come from and how do they grow like that? It’s a time of ups and downs. The weather’s good. There’s plenty of food. But if you’re not careful, you’ll also find yourself buying terrible last minute gifts and nursing unforeseen hangovers on 40-degree days. If you’re going to survive, then you’re going to need a plan. Here are a few basics to get you started. One of the more awkward things about holiday social events is that people constantly force you to reflect on the year – normally out loud and to an audience of close friends, vague acquaintances, and/or judgmental family members. ‘What was your highlight, Amanda?’ asks your lawyer sister, with her dog and three perfect kids. Maybe your highlight was finishing a PhD and starting your new life as an astronaut. Or maybe your highlight was remembering to floss. Either way, you’re now forced to fess up and let Grandma in on the details you’d rather keep private. When it comes to this classic holiday season conversation, it pays to think ahead. Write out a list of everything you’ve achieved and rank your achievements on the basis of: most likely to impress those high school friends you still see once a year. Then memorise the top five, draw them all together into a five to seven minute story, and you’re set! If you’re struggling to get your story together, then be prepared to deflect with an excessively confident, ‘My year was GREAT! And how was yours?’