Jeni Marinucci: Panic Button Years


How to Avoid Going Batshit Crazy this Christmas

Your one-stop guide to avoiding pandemonium this holiday season

Avoiding Holiday Stress | Humor |

There is so much to get done during the holidays that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Once you factor in baking, decorating, and wrapping gifts, there’s hardly any time left for sobbing into your eggnog because the only Christmas card you received was from your divorce lawyer.

Just me?

In any event, here are some Christmas tips to help you manage holiday stress a bit better. I’ve used them all to varying degrees of success.

Elf on the Shelf

Get rid of it. If you’ve got more than one kid, the truth is you don’t need it. You’ve got a built-in Elf on the Shelf every day of the year. I’ve got two kids, and I’ve even given them both incentives to reporting behaviour. For example, one tattle earns a square of toilet paper. Two tattles? You get a sheet on your bed tonight! Three? That’s big time, helper child, and you’ve just gotten yourself a full glass of milk with dinner. Now nothing happens in this house without me knowing about it, and if something is so well thought out that it involves both children, I don’t want to know about it.


Just say no. Seriously, does anyone even do this anymore? If you must participate in this tradition, make it easy for yourself: drive around the neighbourhood with your car windows open, cranking Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas CD.


Today’s home chef can make treats rivaling those found in European bakeries. Thanks to specialty shops and pushy friends selling Pampered Chef products, you too can churn out delectable, gorgeous treats just like those in a bakery. Have I said "bakery" enough to indicate you should just GO TO A BAKERY? No one will know. Jab a few of the cookies with your finger, and maybe throw a couple into the toaster oven to burn the bottoms if you’re worried about appearing too perfect. I wish I had your problems.

Gift wrapping

Fancy papers, ribbons and bows, personalized name tags…where does the madness end? You’re already getting a present. You expect me to spend 30 minutes carefully wrapping it in foil paper with co-ordinating hand-punched calligraphy name tag? Take a cue from my Ex-husband: wrap everything in the bag it came in and seal it up with whatever roll of tape is in the junk drawer. Some of the nicest things I ever got came in duct taped Wal-Mart bag. (And by nice I mean okay. And by okay I mean not good at all.)


Right now my lawnmower is sitting out, mid-lawn, right where it ran out of gas in August. I just threw some lights on it and called it a day, so maybe go elsewhere for decorating tips.


Planning nutritious meals for your family while you’re busy with things like shopping and crying, or wrapping and crying, or trimming the tree and crying can be hard. Well, wipe those tears away, friends! For I bring to you one of the greatest gifts God bestowed on the Universe: the grocery store rotisserie chicken.  This golden BBQ bird has saved my hide (and potential calls to Children’s Services for suspected neglect) many, many times. In fact, in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” the verse “partridge in a pear tree” was originally “A chicken in my buggy.”


Make them “BYOBAFAYNLUEICU” : Bring Your Own Booze and Food and You’re Not Leaving Until Everything is Cleaned Up. Enforce this. Hide people’s coats, their keys, whatever you have to under piles of crusty dishes and empty wine bottles. They clean the mess, they find their stuff! This is also a great way to keep guests entertained. You’ll secure a reputation for being the “hostess with the mostest” employing this technique.

Merry Christmas! 

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