“Home is where the heart is.”
“Don’t spend more than you can afford.”
Advice that has been handed down for generations and stood the test of time are the result of a combination of common sense, downhome know-how and a cycle of emotional abuse that perpetuates the strict demands of those relatives long dead.
Holiday advice is, in many aspects, a tradition. And, for much the same reason that certain decorations are dusted off every year, despite their cracking, bending and being covered in black mold, tradition is one of the hallmarks of the holidays. (Fun fact: It is also one of the hallmarks of Hallmark!)
“Wait, so why am I putting this giant, Indonesian centipede on the tree, again?”
“‘Cuz it’s tradition, silly!… Now, where did that scorpion run off to?”
With tradition comes unspoken (but occasionally yelled) rules that are drilled into your young psyche, put through the ringer of dysfunctional family gatherings and, for a large investment, can be purged and unlearned through years of Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
As you ready yourself for a day of overeating, passive aggressive conversations and the opening of presents and old wounds, my egg nog-addled brain has put together tips that I believe will make this holiday season a win for you and a heartwarming* memory for your family (but, then again, I believe our cat understands everything I say).
*By heartwarming, I mean in the emotional, full of good will sense and not in the defibrillator set to maximum sense.