‘Tis the season for guilt. From too-many-drumsticks guilt to you-have-a-present-for-me-and-I-don’t-have-a-present-for-you guilt, we all indulge in some good old fashioned self-shaming during the holidays.
From the moment the school supplies go on clearance to make way for the Iron Man costumes, the holiday expectations are high. This year we will get all our shopping done early, we will send the best holiday card ever, we will remember to thaw the turkey, and we will – in the words of everyone who dramatically refuses anything that even looks like it has butter in it – “be good.”
Then, inevitably, when the red and green M&Ms go on clearance to make way for the Iron Man Valentines, we reflect on a season filled with not enough time and not enough butter. I propose that this year we indulge a little more, stress a little less, and give ourselves damn good reason to set doomed New Year’s resolutions.
Here’s the plan:
Drink too much: Apple cider and whiskey is to eggnog and brandy is to hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps is to macaroni and cheese. It is kismet. Grab a mug.
Exercise too little: Jump in the leaves, play in the snow, and fatigue your biceps whilst untangling fourteen strands of stubborn twinkly lights. Save the trek to the gym for January when everybody else is doing it.
Eat too much: Devouring half the bowl of grandma’s mashed potatoes need not result in a life sentence of P90X, and if we weren’t supposed to eat all the cookie dough it wouldn’t come in a single serving log. Put down the carrot stick, have that extra crescent roll, and for the love of Santa stop substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream. It’s not the same thing. It’s really truly positively not the same thing.
Prepare too little: It’s ok if your cranberries come from a can, it’s ok if you don’t stay up until the wee hours on Thanksgiving Eve whipping rosemary into the butter and it’s ok if your tablescape doesn’t look quite like it did on Pinterest. Lower your Clark Griswold-esque expectations and settle for the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
Play too much: They don’t make month-long holiday breaks like they used to. Cram in as much Elf-watching and carol-singing and popcorn chain-making and sled-riding and cookie-baking and Kenny G.-listening as possible into this season. Your friends and family should be sick and tired of your merriment by the time the year is over.
Work too little: Raking leaves and shoveling snow are what broke fourteen-year-old neighbor kids are for. They can probably help you haul out your holly too.
Give too much: One for them, three for you.
Wrap too little: Watching your family carelessly rip apart the color-coded wrapping job you did three hours ago while they were still dreaming of sugarplums is just painful. This is why they have those little kiosks at the mall to wrap your five dollar book in six dollar red foil. It’s worth it.
Eat too much: This bears repeating.
So this year, when your co-worker graciously offers you a fourth piece of her homemade fudge, say yes; when you get asked to bring your famous eleven-layer dip to three parties in one weekend, say no; and when someone brings you a thoughtful gift that you hadn’t prepared to receive, just say thank you – guilt free.