I thank you this question, which comes at me often in this season. This I can help you with.
No joke, the holidays can be very challenging. On Black Friday in my small Estonian village of Sharvoldsttenthrock, sheperds arrive early with molten pitchforks and torches and fight over heavily marked down gourds and rabbits. The great, great, great, grand uncle of Zamboni, a dwarf and expert cheesmonger, Baron Phillipe de Mouton Rothschild was trampled to death on one such day, long ago.
My secret of surviving this season is three easy steps.
Step One: Buy the first gift for yourself. No is not better to receive, is better to get. Lets be honest. Science proves that when we buy something we get rush of drug like endorphin. So buy this first fix for you, then riding on this crack high you will be quite generous in looking for the perfect gift for ones you love. Maybe you think I am crass, but is safer than the cocaine.
Second: Limit your exposure to Christmas music. This mostly created by Devil, which I know for fact since I sold my soul to him. Use ipod with sneaky ear things… if you must though, make it the snoopy piano stuff, that’s good music, the Peanuts. Frank Sinatra also has album of this holiday music and this is acceptabe, as Frank being close to god cancel out satanic juju.
Third: Listen to Wisdom of Charlie Brown. Speaking of these peanuts. Remember in Peanuts Christmas special, the very first thing is this Charlie Brown saying, “Christmas makes me depressed. I don’t feel happy like everyone else.” Charlie Brown admits his Christmas funk, he talks about it, he does not hold in. Do like him and soon you will be enjoying company of others who feel this way. And remember also, he feels better when he finds that sad, tiny, neglected “tree” and spruces this up. Do also like this- raise someone up and you are the real winner.
Fourth: I lie. There is another step: Other People Families
When things get very bed, spend holiday occasions with the families that are not your own. The best Christmas dinner that I, Zamboni, ever spent was was with the family of a friend I knew just barely when I was a student in Estonian Paratrooping Academy. I enjoyed food while they fought and yelled with emotional baggage everywhere. Nobody bothered me.
Plus, this last experience has effect of making you miss your own family… you realize that even with the yelling and passive agressive comments like, “why don’t we get your older brother to carve the goose, you don’t know how, do you?” That even if your family is not perfect, at least it is your family. And as the great man said once I forget who; family- is the people that when you have nowhere left, they have to take you in…”
Fifth: Get invited to or have Hannukah party. Eating latkes is much joy to your world.
Last Addendum: Quit your shopping day halfway through. You know that moment when you are still feeling rush of peppermint latte and consumer high…around noon…stop THERE! or Before you know it, it is 4:42pm and you have three clerks running around for you in Barnes and Nobles with headache from Abercrombie Fitch cologne seeping through air ducts. In your culture this is known as “quit while before you are ahead” I think.