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A Mini-Guide To Surviving the Holidays

By GrandWazoo in Culture
Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 12:01:20 AM EST
Tags: (all tags)

In the last few weeks of every year, most of the western world will be celebrating holidays. It is one of the few times if not the only time of year that family and friends get together and share happiness, camaraderie, hope and best wishes for the new year and reflection on the past year.

It can also be a time of stress, anxiety, loss of your job and financial ruin. Below is a brief guide for making it through the next couple of weeks in a way that saves face, helps out with family and in general will help you maintain your sanity.

Job Layoffs - Maybe it's me but it seems to me this is the time of year when large corporations decide to announce MASSIVE layoffs. Go to Google news, use the search term 'layoffs' and you'll see what I mean. It's a big 'fuck-you-from-those-of-us-who-care' type of thing so, 'Merry fucking Christmas buddy'. It doesn't seem to matter what industry it is either. The push to spread this Christmas cheer starts building up just after Thanksgiving here in the U.S.

The first sign that this is about to happen in your company is when you realize that no one is talking up the annual company Christmas party. Also you'll begin to notice no mention of company bonuses that spreads healthy company wealth around. When/If it happens to you, all the plans you made by Halloween in late October just flew out the window and all of a sudden your 401(k) is almost worthless and the money you've been saving starts to vanish with a roaring vengeance. The worst part is that this is the worst, most depressing time of the year to have to look for a job. You look around you and people seem happy, they're buying Christmas gifts. Seeing others like this is depressing and angering. Even bums selling apples on the street corner is enough to send you into unemployed rage. Well, I say fuck 'em.

Start by dragging your ass as soon as possible down to the unemployment office where most of your work buddies are and get the paperwork going for unemployment compensation. Besides you can commiserate in equal opportunity self-delusions. This is an especially good year for that since, we elected a president that promises to extend unemployment and give each of us a turkey. Next, you should call up a few buddies that also got laid off for one last get together at a cheap Happy Hour and get plastered one last time. Spend a few bucks here buying everyone a Santa's Little Elf's Hat. The rest of the time you can spend hopelessly looking for a job and bury yourself on the couch in front of the television watching movies and playing video games until after the first of the year when you can get serious about getting on your feet.

Visiting family - For many of us, the holidays are a great time for seeing mom and dad and brothers and sisters. We get together, have laughs, eat lots of junk as well as good meals and share gifts. But for some of us, this can be a very tense time. Much of this revolves around having to deal with in-laws, people's spoiled bratty kids and wacko relatives you don't care much about. Not only that but sometimes you end up spending large amounts of time at your parent's house where the DVD seems to be stuck on the same Disney movie that seems to be in an endless loop. I don't know what it is about kids but they can watch the same Disney crap over and over and never seem to want to watch anything else. This can get even worse when even the kids get tired of these movies but everyone refuses to turn off the DVD player. Usually someone flips out and eventually turns on the news or a salvation saving football game.

Getting through this part is easy if you are well prepared. First the obvious thing to do is to drink yourself into a condition where you could chew your leg off and you wouldn't feel it. However, many times you're at someone's house where drinking is not allowed (like my mother's). If you know this ahead of time or discover this after arriving it can be easily fixed. Simply get in the car the minute you discover this and get to the nearest chain drugstore to load up on coughing medicine. I don't mean the crap that doesn't do much when you take it. I mean the stuff that is barely sold over-the-counter without a prescription that you have to sign for. Then you can tell everyone you are coming down with a cold (not uncommon for this time of the year) and you can spend the rest of your visit in a stupefied numbness, constantly taking naps and generally being left alone by everyone (they don't want to get your cold).

You won't be bothered by that aunt you always hated kissing, your uncle's bastard little kids become almost amusing, talking shit about another relative and going to Christmas Eve church services become entirely possible and almost tolerable, if not downright amusing. There have been numerous years I succeeded with this technique while spending one or two weeks out of town staying with in-laws. Have you ever noticed that one relative that does the most outrageous things and doesn't seem to care what happens? Well, they discovered the secret mixture of alcohol and cough medicine. Alcohol and cough medicine can get you through almost any family visit or visit to the in-laws. That crazy brother or sister or their spouses becomes an amusing sidebar for the holidays and you can easily throw them under the bus along with everyone else for that matter.

As an alternative method, you can also attempt to get the intolerable members of your family totally plastered. That way it can be halfway sane to be around them and it might even surprise you that they will become witty. If nothing else, this technique can take the focus off you and put it on them. Now, if Christmas is at my house a variation on this idea would be to stock up the liquor cabinet and serve lots of spiked Christmas punch. You can even sneak Ever Clear into that bratty kid's Coke who's idea of a coloring book is the walls of your hallway or the walls of the back bedroom your relatives won't keep them out of.

One year I received a phone call from my mother telling me that my sister was in the middle of a complete and total mental breakdown. She had just found out her husband had been having a kinky, sordid sex affair with his ex-wife who happened to be in town, her teenage son had ditched the complete semester of high school and knocked up one of the cheerleaders and she just discovered her teenage daughter was taking birth control and recently had an abortion. In addition to THAT she didn't have enough money to buy Christmas gifts for everyone because of the private detective fees she'd hired to find all this out. It was enough grief and stress to knock anyone's dick in the dirt.

So my mother (bless her heart) wanted to call me at the last minute to prepare me for the shock when I arrived from out of town. Damn! thanks mom but I don't think I'll be able to get tickets this year to come and visit. I don't care how disappointed everyone will be not to see me. Fortunately, all the immediate family drama ended when she was hospitalized in the local psychiatric hospital. Then everyone was able to talk about her more rigorously in the 3rd person. I survived by sitting around with my bottle of Robitussin and Sudafed (the good stuff) and laughed my way through the following week reading Shakespeare, Proust or Euripedes' Greek tragedies.

It seems like every other year there's a sister or brother that brings a boyfriend or girlfriend over for Christmas dinner who is a Vegan. Invariably, they will spend 4 hours trying to convince everyone that eating meat will make your dick fall off or give your wife breast cancer. While they are doing this the smell of prime rib or that smoked, honey-glazed Ham your mom or wife is making is driving you nuts thinking about having a bite, while half the women are preparing this wonderful meal and they left YOU to entertain this vegan jerk. In this case it is best to take them outside to the backyard and pistol whip them with a .45 revolver and tell them to Shut The Fuck Up. It works every time because they are more than likely a gun control freak as well. It will subdue them into submission and they go off and sit in the corner the rest of the day and behave themselves.

So there you have it. Hopefully, your holidays will be sane, fun and joyous. If not then these are but a few ideas to make it through the holidays and come out on the other end a little more sane and a lot more happy.



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A Mini-Guide To Surviving the Holidays | 41 comments (37 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
you sound bitter and pitiful (1.80 / 5) (#1)
by lostincali on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 08:16:43 PM EST

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."

A kindred spirit, huh? $ (3.00 / 5) (#2)
by Nimey on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:08:27 PM EST

Never mind, it was just the dog cumming -- jandev
You Sir, are an Ignorant Motherfucker. -- Crawford
I am arguably too manic to do that. -- Crawford
I already fuck my mother -- trane
Nimey is right -- Blastard
i am in complete agreement with Nimey -- i am a pretty big deal

[ Parent ]
i thought i smelled the stink of unfunny (none / 0) (#9)
by lostincali on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 12:55:34 PM EST

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

shut up. (1.00 / 3) (#17)
by Enlarged to Show Texture on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 08:04:35 PM EST

And while you're at it, take the corncob out of your ass

"Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." -- Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]
you sound bitter and pitiful (none / 1) (#18)
by lostincali on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 08:12:39 PM EST

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

Damn. +1 FP (2.25 / 4) (#3)
by The Amazing Idiot on Sat Dec 13, 2008 at 11:20:10 PM EST

So true its not funny.

"It seems like every other year there's a sister or brother that brings a boyfriend or girlfriend over for Christmas dinner who is a Vegan."

Turns out, in the grad school my SO is in, there's a girl who's atheist, vegan, and only eats "certain non-endangered fish". Yeah. Fucking stupid, but that's what she said. Her finance is a meat eater but I heard his balls fell off when he started dating her.

Yeah... But Atheist AND vegan_for_certain_types_of_fish. Uh huh.

this actually happened to me (1.50 / 2) (#15)
by GrandWazoo on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 07:25:05 PM EST

a number of years ago. It was funny for awhile. But then it was making everyone else uncomfortable so I pull them off to the side and told them to STFU. Mainly, because the women in the family were working real hard to have a lovely Christmas dinner and I didn't want some shit hole ruining it.

[ Parent ]
My term for those people (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by rusty on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 05:36:36 PM EST

Rather than try to remember exactly who doesn't eat what, I tend to refer to all of them as "people who don't eat food that has any ingredients."

I don't know why, but we seem to run into a lot of people who have exceedingly strange dietary restrictions that don't carry any general label. Like people who eat meat but no wheat gluten or dairy products. Or people who don't eat red meat, any fish or refined sugar. Which by the way try making a dessert for someone who doesn't eat sugar or wheat gluten. Good luck.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

vegan gluten-free brownie recipies (none / 1) (#27)
by spooked on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 08:47:15 PM EST

are a dime a dozen.

Also, things mostly made out of fruit.

Alternatively, you can use potato, corn or rice flour.

[ Parent ]
gluten sensitivity is rare (2.00 / 3) (#30)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:23:51 AM EST

people who want gluten free food are looking for something to blame for equally fleeting mirage-like ailments or perceived shortcomings of theirs

gluten sensitivity is retarded quasimedical trendiness. its an illusory disease for illusory symptoms for "i'm so special" useless bitches who want their ass to be pampered, forcing real life hardship for everyone who has to deal with them. fuck them

its like the fucking retarded hysteria over nut allergies. an exotic few people can be killed by a nut. a larger group gets hives, thats it. because of them, everyone else must act like nuts give us AIDS. no, fuck you: how about if you are sensitive nuts you tiptoe through life and we go on enjoying our peanut butter you assholes?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

There was one (3.00 / 6) (#31)
by rusty on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 09:17:04 AM EST

We have one friend who I don't mock for gluten issues, which she had several years ago for a totally legit gastro-medical problem and is long since over. The contrast between her approach to it ("The fucking doctors say I can't eat anything with gluten in it for a while which is a huge pain in the ass and I hate!") and her dropping it like a hot turd as soon as humanly possible, and the lifelong commitment to fussiness you see with most gluten-frees was illuminating, to say the least.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
People with a hot clue are rare (none / 1) (#32)
by Not an amusing or clever username on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 11:42:48 AM EST

Celiac Disease, which causes gluten intolerance is neither rare or imagined.

More facts

[ Parent ]
what is it? 1%? (none / 1) (#33)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 11:57:27 AM EST

1% is what in your mind? common?

1% in my mind = fucking rare

but don't mind me, i don't have a "hot clue"

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Celiac (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by Sgt York on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 01:24:01 PM EST

Actually, it's less than 1%. And first off, celiac disease is gluten insensitivity (generally). It is not the same thing as a gluten allergy, though; it's sort of an autoimmune disease. Yes, most people call it a true autoimmune disease, but I disagree; it's close, but not quite, at least not in the strictest sense.

According to cdc, incidence is probably about 0.3-0.4% in the US. According to the celiac disease foundation, it's about 0.75%. The celiac foundation number is almost certainly the highest estimate they could find (it's a foundation promoting research), but the CDC number is old and an estimate. The wikipedia article is misleading because it refers to "Indo-European" populations, which really means "everybody". I'd say the realy number is between the CDC and the CDF numbers, probably 0.6%.

It may not seem like much, but once you get it in groups, the odds mount up. 0.6% means one in 166 people. So in a family gathering of 20 people, you have a better than 1 in 10 chance of having somebody there that has it. In an acquaintance group of 100+ people, odds are pretty damn good that somebody has it.

And then, of course, you get the people who jump on the bandwagon because it's the cool disease to have this year. IMHO, those people outnumber the true Celiacs three to fourfould, at least. What's really funny is to get a real celiac talking to a wannabe.
"Oh...you have CD? So do I!"
"Oh, yes...if I ever eat bread-"
"What the FUCK? You eat bread on purpose???"
"Um...not that often..just every now and then..."
"What are you, a fucking masochist? Why in God's name would you do that to yourself?"

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

exactly (none / 1) (#36)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 02:31:06 PM EST

gluten insensitive types, nut allergic types: strong incentive to change their personal habits. such that they don't say anything about it, they just make sure their ok. they don't force us to change

meanwhile, someone who has a strong need to force someone else to change their habits is probably not a true gluten or nut sensitive person, just a sort of...

münchausen syndrome asshole

"i can't force you to love me, but i can force you to care for me medically by putting myself in false distress, which is as close to love as i know"

anyone who loudly reports themselves as gluten sensitve for the attention should have bread shoved down their mouth, as anyone truly gluten sensitive is in the corner, quiet, eating a fucking carrot, and smiling at the comeuppance of the falsely gluten-sensitive

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Sounds like a normal festive season (none / 1) (#4)
by dakini on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 12:17:54 AM EST

for some. I think I would get tired of the cough syrup though. Yuck! Anyway, my holiday season is the same as any other day. Oh well, as they say, shit happens. This is written pretty well. +FP for ya.

" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
-1 FP, whiny and bitter (3.00 / 4) (#6)
by totmacher on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 10:56:19 AM EST

"So my mother (bless her heart) wanted to call me at the last minute to prepare me for the shock when I arrived from out of town. Damn! thanks mom but I don't think I'll be able to get tickets this year to come and visit. I don't care how disappointed everyone will be not to see me."

she wanted to prepare you cause obviously you can't deal with shit like a man. the holidays are about coming together as family; i'm sorry for you, cause it sounds like you feel entitled to some enjoyment as opposed to be giving of yourself around the holidays

-- I'll sum it up for yo: You = Douche bag ~ Butthurtapotamus

Yeah (none / 0) (#10)
by GrandWazoo on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 05:02:16 PM EST

one of the most exciting Christmas gifts is the one that keeps on giving, like LOSING YOUR JOB.

[ Parent ]
did you write santa (none / 0) (#21)
by totmacher on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 07:13:40 AM EST

and ask for a job?

man up

-- I'll sum it up for yo: You = Douche bag ~ Butthurtapotamus
[ Parent ]

The fact of the matter is (none / 0) (#22)
by GrandWazoo on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 07:58:12 AM EST

I have never been laid off in 12 years. If I were laid off my skill set is such that I would be able to get a job almost immediately. I do consulting on the side and get job offers constantly. Even if on the off chance that I couldn't get a job immediately I have enough assets to be able to easily weather not having a job for quite a long time.

Being jobless is something I don't have to worry about in the least.

[ Parent ]

then you're blessed and should give some back (none / 1) (#26)
by totmacher on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 08:33:25 PM EST

instead of writing up a huge bitchfest

and by extension, why aren't you hiring people during the holidays or creating some sort of side work for them? give me a break

-- I'll sum it up for yo: You = Douche bag ~ Butthurtapotamus
[ Parent ]

I have done that too (none / 0) (#28)
by GrandWazoo on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 09:01:39 PM EST

I always give $$$$s to the homeless shelters around town. I am not in a hiring position.

[ Parent ]
I sympathize (3.00 / 3) (#24)
by rusty on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 05:32:48 PM EST

I'd have done the exact same thing. I've tried my best all my life to steer well clear of family drama that doesn't directly involve me. The exceedingly few times I've jumped in when I didn't absolutely have to, it was a huge mistake. And hey, all my family members still talk to me! So it must be working.

To me, that sounded like an extremely sound reaction.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

It's like you started a story, got bored... (1.50 / 2) (#11)
by undermyne on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 06:20:10 PM EST

and then FAIL.

"You're an asshole. You are the greatest troll on this site." Some nullo
well sort of like the Christmas holidays (none / 1) (#14)
by GrandWazoo on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 07:21:01 PM EST

in a way. For some self medication is the only way to go.

[ Parent ]
no it's more like (none / 1) (#20)
by yellow shark on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 07:11:59 AM EST

you started a comment, got bored writing it and then YUO FAIL.

Dont you think?

[ Parent ]

My Uncles take on (3.00 / 4) (#12)
by eavier on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 06:45:28 PM EST

Christmas: The only time of the year I have to stomach people that I share nothing in common with apart from bloodline.

Yeah, we don't much like him.


Whatever you do, don't take it into your house. It's probably full of Greeks. - Vampire Zombie Abu Musab al Zarqawi

Ufology Doktor in da house

yes (3.00 / 3) (#13)
by GrandWazoo on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 07:18:12 PM EST

that was sort of the point of the article (that it is not all fun all the time), even though it would be great if it could be.

In some families Christmas and a few other holidays are stressful.

[ Parent ]

by Harry B Otch on Sun Dec 14, 2008 at 10:54:58 PM EST



arent people strange? we used to be cavemen and now we do this. and we live on a planet in space. who thought this up? --Some random illiterate on the in

no word on whether you'll put your dick in it (1.00 / 3) (#23)
by lostincali on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 08:24:11 AM EST

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

"a christmas story" reruns (2.00 / 3) (#29)
by circletimessquare on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:15:28 AM EST

about all that's missing

fine job

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Let me get this right... (none / 1) (#34)
by Liar on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 01:05:46 PM EST

you wrote an article about how to survive a layoff and how to survive a meal with your own particular family. This doesn't resemble most people's holidays and really only talks to the cross section of 6.5% of the workforce and the people around your parent's dinner table.

Is this for your unemployed brother?

I admit I'm a Liar. That's why you can trust me.
It was supposed to be (none / 0) (#37)
by GrandWazoo on Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 08:36:41 PM EST

sorta tongue in cheek thing.

[ Parent ]
Asscheek? /nt (1.00 / 3) (#41)
by BJH on Fri Jan 02, 2009 at 05:38:41 AM EST

Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
Heavy drinking (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by Brogdel on Sat Dec 20, 2008 at 06:18:55 PM EST

Smooths everything out.

indeed (none / 0) (#39)
by GrandWazoo on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 10:51:21 PM EST

you get it.

[ Parent ]
Or you could just not do it (none / 0) (#40)
by Jesus Christ Himself on Wed Dec 24, 2008 at 10:24:03 AM EST

In my early 20s I didn't do christmas with family. A bunch of friends had all got pissed off with the family christmas thing, worse since most of our folks were divorced and choosing which xmas to go to gets harder, not to mention the focus shifts from dealing with actual family to dealing with your parents asshole friends. Two Christmases in a row of too much attention from Mother's single, 50 year old friends was enough to drive me to signing off it for five years. That way you can eat too much and get drunk with people you choose to.

Bless you my child.
A Mini-Guide To Surviving the Holidays | 41 comments (37 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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