The holidays can be stressful, what with families to visit, jingle bells ringing and those domestically disabled divas expected to deck the halls with cheer. But even if you’re not Martha Stewart, there are ways to make sure the only “F” words muttered are “Fa la la” and “fruitcake.”
So put on your ugly sweater and pour yourself a cup of alcoholic pancake batter—also known as eggnog—and let’s begin.
When it comes to the inside décor, I suggest it’s done in stages:
1) Binge clean, knowing you won’t want to move the crap off the mantle to dust for at least the next month.
2) Find the fragile decorations in the box labeled “Don’t Set Anything On Top Of” at the bottom of a stack of boxes, along with a dozen pulverized candy canes. Sit on the couch with your beverage of choice and stare at the boxes in hopes for a holiday miracle.
3) Hang old socks by the fireplace and then tie foliage—a.k.a. the mistletoe — above a doorway to encourage awkward displays of affection between people who accidentally stop there to ask where you keep the good wine.
4) Procrastibake: Make a batch of cookies instead of doing something else you should be doing, like stashing away the good wine.
5) If you’re not into baking, do not despair. Simply throw flour on your clothes, spend hours scouring Pinterest for desserts you “might” make, light a sugar cookie candle and call it good.
6) Run out of tinsel for the tree? Thread aluminum foil through a shredder. Need a few quick ornaments? Cut coffee filters into snowflakes, put hooks in wine corks and throw some pine cones from the yard on O Tannenbaum.
7) If the tree is fake, consider leaving it up all year to avoid having to haul it back out and decorate it for various holidays. Use the branches to dry out your socks and bras.
8) Have those cheap foam pool noodles still hanging around waiting to be stored for the winter? Grab a red one, twist in the shape of a candy cane and tie a piece of fishing line around the two parts of the bend to keep it in place. Wrap white ribbon or electric tape around it to create stripes. There you go—fun and functional décor!
9) When it comes to wrapping gifts, it’s lovely to have sparkling seasonal paper, but sometimes you get stuck in a pinch. In those instances, I suggest using “Happy Birthday” paper and writing “Jesus” after it.*
*If you’re not religious, write “Rudolph.” After being ostracized for the whole year, let the poor little guy catch a break.
10) No paper at all? Grab an empty bag of chips, and search around the house for something you think could work as a gift — things like shampoos, hand wipes, coffee packets and jelly you swiped from a hotel room, for example. Clean the chip bag and turn it inside out to reveal the silver, carefully place your gift inside, twist the bag at the top, find a ribbon and you’re set.
Much like you will most likely be when visiting the in-laws, Christmas spirit will be in the bag.
Take that, Martha Stewart.