10 Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving and Christmas

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by Nick Bridwell (Customer Service)

1.Take it Easy on the Road- Every single person on the road has somewhere to be. So stop trying to run everyone off the road to get where you are going five minutes faster. Having a car is a luxury, not an entitlement. I created a mantra for myself that inspires me to relax even if everyone out there is crazy: The bird does not explain to the snake why it flies; it simply flies. Meaning, you don’t have to bring yourself down to the level of road ragers and cell-phone gazers. Be cognizant, but be cool.

2. Slow Down While Shopping- This is pretty much the same concept as driving, with the exception that people hidden behind metal and class in their cars can be a little more rude without being personal. When you are out there shopping this Christmas seasons, don’t forget what Christmas is all about. The point is to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth, not to get the last hot toy of the season. Also, as the husband of a wonderful woman that works in retail, I ask you to be polite and patient when you shop and be kind to the people helping you. It might seem like you are not getting the attention you need, but remember that these folks are usually working with a skeleton crew and 5 times their normal volume of customers. Treat others kindly and you will feel the Spirit move in you.

3. Travel Light, Dress Like a Rockstar – Make your life easier by traveling like your favorite lead singer on tour. Ever notice how your favorite band will often wear the same two or three outfits on tour? That’s because nobody has the time or the space to carry around hundreds of cool outfits or to coordinate them. Pick a few essentials and mix it up. For the gentlemen: One pair of jeans, one pair of chinos, three long-sleeve shirts (one white; spread collar, one plaid; use some colors that that go with anything, and one that’s your favorite ever), a sweater and two blazers, one pair of dress shoes one pair of casual sneakers, provide a lot of fun combinations. And you don’t have to pack the entire closet.  This should all fit in one bag and a hang-up. If it doesn’t, upgrade to a side pocket duffel.

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4. Show Up With Something – You might have the biggest family in Texas, or you might be joining another couple for a tiny Thanksgiving dinner. Either way, a gift will be appreciated. The best red wine for turkey day is a Pinot Noir, because its earthiness compliments the meal. The best white wine is a Riesling, because the wine’s wonderful apricot and apple accents compliment the sweetness of a Thanksgiving meal. If you want to go non-alcoholic, I’ve personally always appreciated a loaf of French bread or a couple of baguettes.

5. Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself- It seems like a no-brainer, but last year, I got ready to take off for a road trip and realized I had a flat tire. Couldn’t make the trip because guess what, Discount Tire isn’t open every single day of the year. Nobody is! Check your tires, oil, etc, before you go on a long trip.

6. Be Courageous – You know that one person nobody likes that somehow manages to make it to every family event? If you’re the host, do yourself a favor–don’t invite them. I know that’s controversial. We’re supposed to be graceful and kind. Well, some people invite that and some people don’t. Do your entire family a favor and make the holiday enjoyable. Many a beautiful Thanksgiving and Christmas has been sacrificed to the obligatory inclusion of Drunkle Frank or Cousin Drama. Treat the deserving with the grace of the world, but don’t open yourself up to a disaster. The owner of the China shop rarely invites the bull inside out of the bottom of his heart. Most of the time, he just gets invited by default.

7. Collect Keys – I feel like a PSA here, but this is the truth. It’s a lot of fun getting together with family and friends during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whether you’re out of town or safely nestled in your own home, be safe! Collect keys and make sure that people aren’t leaving the party before they’re ready to make the drive.

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8. Love Your Spouse- November and December are the busiest months of the year. It’s super easy to let tensions rise and to take that out on the closest person…your husband or wife. Don’t! This is a fun time to work together. Nothing in the world matters as much as your marriage. As a newlywed, I’m probably highly unqualified to give marital advice. But then again, it is pretty good advice, right? Make sure that you are taking care of the special person in your life and working together to have a Thanksgiving and Christmas that is as stress-free as possible, enjoyable, and dedicated to God and not greed.

9. Make it Personal – So much of Christmas these days seems to be about the accumulation of wealth. I believe it’s better to give someone a personal gift than a generic thing off of some wish list they wrote while watching Youtube from the comfort of the lavatory. Is this selfish on my part? I don’t think so. I would rather give someone a trinket that they will keep forever than a 100th shirt or 5th pair of sunglasses, etc. Example: my wife’s grandfather needed a shoe horn but was having some hip problems. So, I had a custom shoe horn made out of Texas mesquite that was basically the length of a cane. Custom gift with function and form.

10. Be Thankful – We all say the Grace before dinner. Well, take it one step further. Spend a little time and look around at all of your blessings. Even if times are tough. Count your blessings. Appreciate Thanksgiving and Christmas for the time you get to spend with the people you love. Cherish these moments. Ignore the hustle. Let your loved ones know they matter. It will make their holiday a lot better. And then, when Christmas rolls around, give them a gift that means more to their souls and less to their closets.

 

Good luck and God Bless!

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