Despite well intentions, sometimes things might not always go as smoothly as planned over the holidays. No one is better equipped to give advice on holiday stress than the cheery man in a red suit from the North Pole. Let’s tap Santa’s brain to troubleshoot some common problems:
Dear Santa: Faith arrived at the Christmas party with gifts for everyone but one person. Oh no! What should she do? Love, Concerned friend. Santa: Ho! Ho! Ho! I always recommend carrying a variety of gift cards from the North Pole to use in a pinch. Otherwise, Faith should be honest and let the person know the truth, for example, that she wasn’t aware that they would be in attendance or that she miscalculated the number of gifts. While it’s sometimes awkward to accept a gift when you lack one to offer in return, all is not lost. Faith can offer to treat a friend to lunch, shovel a neighbor’s driveway, or bake them cookies as a belated gift… (and perhaps leave a few extra out for Santa along with some cold milk- ho ho ho!) No matter what, being honest and following through is key. And being honest and thoughtful will keep her off next year’s naughty list!
Dear Santa: I have anxiety. I want the perfect holiday, but every year my nephew shows up with uninvited guests, the kids get loud and wild, and Uncle Pete turns grumpy and snaps at people. What can I do to keep from losing it? Signed, Losing it in Saint Louis. Santa: I understand. Frosty often shows up to Christmas dinner with extra snowmen who melt all over the place (drives the Mrs. nuts!), the elves get rambunctious, and Rudolph’s nose turns so bright red that everyone needs to wear sunglasses. But it’s just one day. Relax your expectations and don’t focus on everything going perfectly, instead think about having fun. To make feeding the crowd easier, ask your nephew to contribute a few dishes. Candy cane casserole is the best! Be sure to plan an activity to entertain the kiddos. And never let your tinsel get in a tangle. Simply redirect Uncle Pete from topics that make him grumpy, such as North Pole politics, to happy ones that everyone enjoys discussing, such as Sugar Plum Fairies and the New Year’s Eve ball in Prancer Square.
Dear Santa: Every year the family goes Christmas Caroling, but I hate it. I have a terrible singing voice, and I dislike being out in the cold. How do I opt-out? Signed, Lazy Larynx. Santa: Truth be told, Lazy Larynx, I prefer whistling to singing. But rather than be a Grinch or totally miss out on the family event, offer to stay back to make hot chocolate with mini marshmallows (my favorite) or hot mulled apple cider (my other favorite) to warm up the singers upon their return. That way, you’ll still be part of the event without having to strain your vocal cords or harm other people’s hearing. You might also consider taking singing lessons to build your confidence for next year and letting the magic of the holiday spirit grow deep inside you. Also, practice playing in the snow to become better acclimated to the cold. Now, I’d better go get my reindeer ready for the long trip around the world. You can’t keep the good kids waiting. Giddy Up! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!