By Ainsley Davis
Festive music floating through the air, the aroma of cinnamon and spilled hot chocolate are everywhere. Winter decorations on the wall signal the end of fall. This time of year brings smiles, warm clothes, and comfort food. The holidays should be a joyous time of harmony, but it is as fragile as a snowglobe. One thing goes wrong, and you step in glass. If you don’t follow these tips, your holiday season will flop on the ground like a soggy marshmallow in a child’s hot chocolate.
The first step to having a good holiday season is to start celebrating as soon as humanly possible. Sure, most stores usually begin selling Christmas stockings, candy canes, and those cute little pet sweaters on November 1, but that’s not early enough. In August, drag a few dusty boxes of decorations out of your garage and look up some Christmas music playlists on Spotify to get in the spirit. It doesn’t matter if your neighbors haven’t even put up their Halloween decorations yet. They’re just slowpokes.
Although Thanksgiving is nowhere near as important as other holidays, you should try to get your entire family together to celebrate and give thanks. Make sure to invite everyone, even the people who don’t get along, and sit them next to each other at dinner. Uncle Harry and Aunt Sally’s divorce was years ago, they have to be over it by now. Your vegan aunt needs to sit right next to the turkey, and all the little kids need to sit at the adult table so they can feel included. Spending time packed together at an overcrowded table is a bonding experience. It’s the best way to let go of old grudges and start anew.
If you find yourself sitting between your millenial cousin who’s majoring in gender studies at UCLA and your uncle who has 12 conservative bumper stickers on his truck and owns a gun store, be sure to bring up Donald Trump and anything else that involves politics. Be sure to discuss which candidates you’ll vote for after you turn 18. Better yet, have the TV tuned to either Fox News or CNN as relatives arrive at your house. Politics is a light and easy subject to talk about in order to break the ice.
Once the rest of the world is finally ready for Christmas, coffee shops will start selling holiday- themed drinks. Be sure to try every single one (even the ones that look gross) and saturate all 5 of your Instagram accounts with a picture every 5 minutes. These drinks are only around once a year, and peppermint hot cocoa is way too difficult to make yourself. Although you might want to pass up Starbucks since their cups are not Christmas-y enough. With a green sweater cup, a holly berry cup, and two winter-y red designs, there’s just no way to tell what time of year these cups are designed to celebrate. You’re better off going to other stores to fuel all the shopping you need to do.
The best time to buy gifts is Black Friday. You don’t really need a plan or an idea of which stores to explore; just look for the stores with the biggest crowds. They probably have the best deals and enough products for everyone who wants one. If Black Friday lets you down, you can always rummage through your house for old items to re-gift. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a children’s size leopard print snuggie that you got three years ago and only wore once, maybe twice.
Speaking of Christmas, don’t let other holidays steal your holiday’s spotlight. If Target has one shelf of Hanukkah decorations (and none for Eid Mubarak or Kwanzaa), Christmas will only have 15. You have to assert your holiday dominance by saying “Merry Christmas!” to everyone regardless of their beliefs and culture. After all, America has freedom of religion and speech. No one should stifle your ability to celebrate your holiday. Don’t forget to be offended when someone of a different religion wishes you “A Happy (whatever holiday they celebrate)!”
After all, that’s what the holidays are about: making sure you do everything perfectly and putting your own happiness above everyone else’s.