5 not-so-merry holiday situations and how to fix them

The holidays are a time for cheer; a time to be around loved ones, sleep in, drink delicious wintery beverages and not change out of our pajamas for a few days. But what about those less-than-ideal situations we find ourselves in around the most wonderful time of the year? Here are a few of the most common road bumps on the way to holiday bliss—and how to bounce back with your holiday spirit in tact!

1. Spending the holidays away from home

Whether you’re spending your first winter away at college or are a grownup lady who can’t spring for airfare (it happens, okay?) there’s no need to despair! The world is not a sad, lonely place when you pair up with friends that happen to be sticking around, too—it can actually be kind of amazing in a nontraditional way. After all, your friends are the family you get to pick, so they probably won’t care if ordering Chinese food and watching Love, Actually are what you’d rather do than glaze a ham or wrap presents. Or debate politics. Which brings us to. . .

2. Too much time with a relative who pushes your buttons

You know who I’m talking about: that one person who always seems to stir the pot. It may be the season of peace and love, but let’s face it: some of the people you’re related to can annoy you better than anyone else. Families tend to work in patterns, so if your Uncle Glen went off on a maddening political rant last year, there’s a chance it might happen again. If you sense that political manifesto part deux is under way, prepare a neutral topic to broach with him instead, like furry animals or his festive holiday sweater. If that doesn’t work, no one said sneaking off to the bathroom for five minutes of deep breathing was a major offense, right? They might just think you had too much eggnog.

3. Running into everyone you know when you’re back in your hometown

What is it about those pesky holiday stop-and-chats that brings out our inner Larry Davids? Seeing people you haven’t talked to since the 8th grade can be about as awkward as knowing your parents got each other sensual massage oil for Christmas. To avoid a blunder, give a polite nod or say hi when possible. If it turns into an hour-long recap of what you’ve been doing with your life, say you actually came to this lovely establishment with someone and you should really go looking for him or her as they may have gotten lost.

3. Getting too drunk

Unlimited peppermint martinis might sound like the best thing ever, but serious party mode around the holidays can be weird and damaging to the rest of your life. If you’re back home and drinking with old college or high school pals, there are a million anxiety-producing social land mines (exes and ex friends, come to mind, see item 3) that will only be made worse with alcohol. And just because you’re an adult now and you can legally drink alcohol around your family, that doesn’t mean you should. While it can be tempting to use booze to ease the pain, the not-so-merry part of this situation is that you can’t totally let loose around these people without long-term repercussions (i.e., your whole family will be weird around you and/or you will be hearing about Holiday 2014 for years). Alternate water in between every drink and set a maximum before the fun begins. Hint: your maximum is probably a few drinks before you’d want to tell everyone exactly how you feel.

5. Being in the giving spirit. . .without having a lot of dough.

Pinching pennies takes work, but that doesn’t mean you have to scrooge everyone out of a little something. Make friends “office emergency kits” out of cute pouches and include everything you need to get yourself together on the go: lipstick, bobby pins, hairspray, etc. Your friends will love the thoughtful gift and you’ll still be able to pay your rent! If you’re really strapped for cash, have them over for a post-holiday get-together instead. A nice cheese plate is the way to any true friend’s heart.

All gifs taken from giphy.com

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