(Or, Why I Don’t Hate Christmas)

  1. Think of others first. This is utterly Machiavellian, but you will feel better as you reflect fondly upon your generous Christmas spirit. If nothing else, you can at least try to convince yourself that your charitable nature is making the world a better place. Those of you who know me personally know that I’m not actually this awful, but desperate times–holiday with family–call for desperate measures.
  2. Feel free to splurge on wine. You’ll probably need it. (If you are underage, move on to number 3.) My personal favorite is the Western NY wine superstore, Premier Wine and Spirits. I can easily lose track of two hours reading the delightful little blurbs taken from Wine Spectator and those written by the store’s employees. I like to see how well I can do with a $10 per bottle limit. You’d be surprised just how many bottles rated 90+ fall into that category!
  3. Play with your nieces and nephews. They will rekindle your Christmas spirit like nothing else. My husband’s side of the family combined forces this year to buy Nintendo Wii and Guitar Hero III for our nephews and niece. I can already hear them arguing over whose turn it is to play!
  4. Have several good books on hand. This Christmas, I would like to get through Toni Morrison’s Beloved and finish Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth and Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie. Because it’s now way too insane to brave shopping locally, I’d recommend checking out Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
  5. Use your time wisely. I promised myself no grading over break, but since I’m going to be on the road for six hours between Buffalo and Ithaca, there’s no reason I can’t devote that time to getting such unpleasantries out the way.
  6. Play in the snow. I’m a little bummed that the Nor’easter hit north of Buffalo, but I have no fear that Eden will live up to its snowy reputation once again this year. I’m going to get my cross-country ski equipment sorted and ready to go so I can pop out the back door at a moment’s notice. I’m going to ask Stan (are you reading this, hon?) to set up a little workshop in the basement, so I can wax my skis in five minutes or less.
  7. Bake cookies. The cross-country skiing will offset the calories. My personal favorites are pinwheels and pizelles, both recipes from my grandmother. But if you are looking for something new, Epicurious has a recipe database so enormous you could spend days just navigating it.
  8. Rent a BBC mystery series from Blockbuster or Netflix. When it’s too blustery to ski and you’ve maxed out on reading for a day, there is nothing better than lolling about on the couch watching a television series you’d never have the time for otherwise.
  9. And last but not least, don’t spend too much time cleaning because holiday decorations cover dust. Your humble abode will only going to get messed up by all the activity anyway. Save your energy for conversation and cooking.