It’s that time of year. Once again, Tom Turkey is eclipsed by that one word that seems to be on the lips of everyone I know: Christmas. If you read any current online or print media at all, I’m sure you’ve already noticed the usual holiday how-to headlines this year: “How to keep from gaining weight over the holidays,” “How to avoid stressing out this holiday season.” But if you ask me, the answer to these questions boils down to one, simple, little, teeny-tiny, two-letter word: NO.
First of all, if you really want to avoid the holiday madness, your first assignment is to just say no to the Black Friday-starting-at-midnight craze. This is one of the worst ideas that have ever ripped through retail. I always thought Black Friday (the other two words on everyone’s lips) was stupid anyway, but the past few years, this trend has gotten completely out of hand.
How would you feel if you had to sleep through most of your Thanksgiving Day because you have to be at work by midnight that night to work a 12-hour shift? Would this stress you out? I don’t know about you, but I would be thoroughly pissed.
In case you haven’t already figured this out, Black Friday is manned by an army of thoroughly stressed and pissed off, not to mention underpaid, workers who probably couldn’t afford to take advantage of the so-good-I’d-totally-step-on-your-head-if-you-fell-down-in-front-of-me deals their employers are offering even if they did have the day off.
Seriously, is there really no better way to squeeze in all of those Black Friday sales than to burn out your employees?
When you make sure you’re the first in line at all the best Black Friday sales, you are contributing to the misery of these hard-working people. And, you are walking into a tension firestorm from the word, “go.”
But you know what? If enough of us say no and stop showing up at midnight for those stupid sales, then these people wouldn’t have to be at work so early to begin with. Maybe they could get a good night’s sleep and serve you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the wee hours of the morning, thus reducing the chances that they will get cranky with you and stress you out. It’s all a big circle, you see? As usual, the solution is in the hands of the consumer.
But that’s just one of the many crazy-nutso-absolutely-unnecessario “traditions” we all cling so tightly to. What about the multitude of individual family traditions we drive ourselves totally insane over?
I was always taught that the holiday season is a time for giving. But it seems to me that most of my holidays over the past 13 years have been overrun by people who only want to take from me. I’m not talking about gifts here, I couldn’t care less about gifts. I’m talking about the people who want to trample over you in the name of the holiday spirit. Now, I enjoy giving, and even receiving is okay, but I can’t stand TAKING.
We are afraid to say no to these people for fear that they might accuse us of being selfish. But saying no to a person whose intent is to take advantage of you is a selfless act. It takes guts to say no, but say no you must. Especially if the requester is asking something they have no right to ask. These people either don’t care that they are imposing on you or they are so out of touch with reality they have no idea they are asking things of you that they have no right ask. Either way, they need someone to tell them no for once so they don’t keep running around treating everyone around them like crap.
So just say no to the sister-in-law who insists that you host both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because she simply has no room; even though her house is bigger than yours. You know she’ll just show up and criticize everything you do and make a face at the gift you bought her because you didn’t spend as much money as she thought you should anyway. So screw her. Just say no.
Just say no to the brother-in-law whose main goal for the weekend is to finish off your brand new bottle of tequila that would last you six months under normal circumstances. Sure, he’ll appear rosy-cheeked in all of your holiday photos, but… screw him too. Just say no.
Just say no to the mother-in-law who insists that you serve a Christmas Eve buffet, Christmas breakfast, and Christmas dinner exactly the way her grandma always did it. Just say no if you have dreams of serving up a holiday al la your own family traditions (or if your idea of the perfect holiday meal is steaks on the grill and potluck sides, so there’s less clean-up AND less waste.) If she wants to eat a certain dish for Christmas dinner, she should simply show up with that dish already prepared and keep her demands to herself. If she’s that lazy, selfish, and demanding, screw her too. Just say NO!
With that said, my last tip for avoiding the holiday madness and saving your sanity is to just say no to spending the holidays with toxic people, even if they are your relatives or in-relatives. In my book, it’s okay to make up excuses to stay home (or be honest and just say no) and spend those special days with the people you really care about and who care enough about you to NOT stress you out. It’s okay if those people are friends, not family. It’s okay to make excuses so you don’t have to spend the entire Christmas weekend with your in-laws. If they insist on hijacking your holidays every year, it’s okay to just say no.
My last wish for you this holiday season is that you please, please, please let your entire holiday season be full of people who really care about you rather than those who are just looking to get something out of you. I know I will.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
- How to Control the Shopaholic in You this Holiday Season (askthemoneycoach.com)
- Ask the Readers: Black Friday Shopping Secrets? (getrichslowly.org)
- Letters: Stores rushing Black Friday (knoxnews.com)
- 7 Reasons to Shop This Weekend, Not Black Friday (blogs.smarter.com)
- All About Black Friday (wisebread.com)