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.
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.
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.
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.
The holidays are meant to be a time for embracing your loved ones and spending quality time together, but people often get pushed aside for the sake of other stuff. It's frustrating because most of us have a little time off during the holidays, so you'd think we'd find ways to be more intimate with each other with all the opportunities the extra time affords. But the best "Let's get it on tonight" intentions often give way to "Great. Another party I need to make a cheese ball for."
But you need to make time to get out of the kitchen and the shopping mall, friends. You need to pay attention to your own needs.
YOU NEED TO GET LAID.
We're moms (and dads) but we're still sexual beings. (That's how many of our babies got here, right?) But kids + busy holidays = NO SEX HAPPENING. Despite having extra time on our hands, long form sex is forgotten. So play with the deck you're given and embrace the quickie. If sex needs to be of the drive-by variety, it can still be a lot of fun, so long as you go in prepared. Just remember the basics:
Here are 6 creative (and totally legal!) places you can try when you want to get it on:
If you can't seem to get away from the kids, leave the iTunes Store or Netflix open on the laptop and tell them you're going downstairs to "investigate that weird noise." They'll be so scared, I'm betting they won't move for at least a half hour. Any grown up sounds you make can later be chalked up to a "stair troll" ensuring future trysts go uninterrupted.
Bonus: Set the washer to extra rinse for extended spin action and if you're creative with your position, you can also get a load of towels folded.
Pretend your water heater is broken. Complain about it all day to set the stage for the kids and expect a groan and some cursing from your partner until he realizes it's a cover. This is also a great opportunity for role play if you can convince your partner to wear an orange day glow vest and home-printed fake Gas Company ID. Encourage sexy talk earlier in the day by sending a cryptic text asking if his pipe fitter license is valid, if-ya-know-what-I-mean.
Since we're having a milder than usual December, use the great weather as an excuse to invite the whole family to rake leaves and clear garden debris. Most kids balk at chores, so no one will go for it. When you think about it, the garden shed makes the perfect quickie getaway because you can make lots of noise (plug in the leaf blower!). The summer lounge chairs in storage provide an alternate to the usual quickie position of balancing on one foot while clinging for life to your partner. So hide a bottle of your Trojan lubricant, like Arouses & Intensifies inside a pair of gardening gloves, put on some easy access clothing, and head to the shed.
Let's be honest. Raise your hand if you have a private nickname for your kid and that nickname is "buzzkill." Taking a shower is something you have to do anyways, so it's the ultimate location for quickie sex because you're actually multi-tasking. Shower sex is always a great quickie spot because you can lock the door and no one questions your motives.
Normally, a minivan isn't known as a sex machine. If you see a man driving a minivan and he's smiling, call the cops because that vehicle is stolen. When you come home from holiday shopping or the staff Christmas party, park the van and turn it off. Don't worry about heat because you're about to make your own. Re-enact your younger days if you want, just push the toy bags and stocking stuffers aside first. And now that you're older, you're wise enough to know lubricant is your friend so keep a bottle handy in the glove box (but during the summer, never store it in temps above 37 degrees!). Answer any curious questions by saying it's for the flux capacitor.
This is not for beginners. I repeat: not for beginners. It's also best if your attic is finished - even great sex isn't great with insulation burns or scarred lungs. But if you and your partner are seriously sexy-time challenged, your kids are stickier than Velcro this month, and there's been a toddler in your bed since 2008, you need to go big or go home. Sneak up into the place they don't even know exists - the attic. Make sure you've got a solid floor, a clean work surface, and safe air to breathe. Plan a reliable escape route first - no one wants to scream for a neighbour through a dormer window, naked and with no reasonable explanation. TRUST ME ON THIS. You will forevermore be known as "that" couple and your invitation to the neighbourhood block party will mysteriously get lost in the mail. But if you succeed - if you get the "in the attic" square punched on your Quickie Card, you won't stop smiling until Valentine's Day.
Make sure your holidays are fun. We all make promises to stress less and love more each year, so this year, DO IT (literally). Make sure you take time to spend with your partner this holiday, because getting it on is more fun than fighting about credit card bills or making threats about what you'll burn down if your partner's Uncle Fred starts going on about his view of women working outside the home.
Don't grow apart this holiday season; come together.
December 2015 may very well be remembered as a time of darkness - political candidates spewing hatred and vitriol, unexplainable violent acts, and Justin Bieber's new album at the top of the charts. Who can bring us hope? Who can take the pain away, if only for a few hours?
Dolly Parton; Dolly Parton can.
Dolly - or a reasonable facsimile of - is here to take our woes away, this Thursday at 8pm on NBC. (That's a "station" on "television" for the Netflix and Apple TV faithful. Call your local "cable company" if you want to watch the show on a "television set." Otherwise, stream it or view through a neighbours window, but whatever you do, watch this movie.
"Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors" is based on the inspiring true story of living legend Dolly Parton's remarkable upbringing. This once-in-a-lifetime movie special takes place inside the tight-knit Parton family as they struggle to overcome devastating tragedy and discover the healing power of love, faith and a raggedy patchwork coat that helped make Parton who she is today."
The movie recounts Dolly's 9th year and circumstances that led to her famous song/story "coat of many colours." I'm not a religious person, but the message is a good one regardless and the production has Dolly's seal of approval and input as one of the producers. The story has roots in the circumstances surrounding the death of Dolly's brother Larry, who was only four days old when he died. Larry was to be "Dolly's baby,' as the large Parton family paired siblings to each other to help out when extra hands were needed.
This family had nearly nothing except for one another (her mother once literally sewed Dolly's foot back together after an injury, I read in her autobiography. Ask for this book for Christmas and you will never bitch about having "less than" again). Although her beginnings stem from being quite literally born into a dirt floor shack, here is a woman who has started countless charities, shown exceptional grace under fire, and been kinder than a saint to many who did not deserve it. (Check out the Dolly Parton episode of Drunk History for evidence of her innate goodness. It's worth the $2.99 on iTunes.)
What is it about Parton that people love so much? It goes beyond the fact that she has the voice of an angel. Is it her progressive and liberal attitude wrapped up in a skin-tight bedazzled, hair-sprayed package? I've never met Parton but I will bet you $100 that she smells like Pine Sol, new shoes, and sugar cookies. I would spray my house with that, Febreze people. Get on it.
I'll be watching "Coat of Many Colours" on Thursday night because not only because the movie promises to be a glimmer of light in a foggy time, but because my "good feels" tank is running low and I need a Dolly fix.