How Do You Survive the Holidays? Help!

It’s not that I don’t love Thanksgiving or Christmas. I mean, who doesn’t love Thanksgiving and Christmas? The whole freaking world loves Thanksgiving and Christmas! Because…otherwise… You’re one of these two characters:

And wouldn’t you rather be these?

By the way, I wanted to include a picture of a guy enjoying some Christmas cheer so that my male readers wouldn’t feel left out. Word of advice: don’t Google “male Christmas model.” It’s nearly-naked dudes wearing Santa hats. Sometimes on their heads, sometimes on their…other place.

So.

I’ll take the grinchy hit here: Holidays stress me out. I’m not even sure that I like them. My favorite time to be thankful is when I’m snuggled up on the couch with my husband and dogs, watching our fireplace, and we’re snowed in so no one can bug us. Or when it’s summer, and we’re driving down a dirt road with nothing but trees for miles. That’s when I think, “Wow, I’m profoundly thankful.”

Thanksgiving is the time when I think, “Ack! I have to cook for HOW many people? And my house is supposed to somehow be magically spotless at the same time? Of course I should be able to do this, because Rachel Ray does it and the Pioneer Woman does it and every other freaking housewife on my social media feed does it. So why am I covered in flour with an underbaked casserole, burnt cookies, and a kitchen full of weird gadgets that I didn’t even know I owned? WHY?”

Then there’s dinner itself, where you mingle with the cousins who you haven’t seen all year, and they ask you awkward questions like “Why don’t you have kids yet?” Because it’s inappropriate to ask that to just anyone, but we’re family, after all, and so it’s probably fine even though we never talk except for at these awkward family events (Hint: it’s not fine).

Then there’s what I call the “résumé relatives,” who ask you what you’ve been up to this year, but it’s in this judgy way where you should have definitely accomplished more than you have (because did you hear how much THEY did this year??). It’s like they want you to send them your updated résumé every year, just so they can scoff and say, “HA! Loser. I knew it.”

And then there’s my grandma, who is honestly awesome but also the strangest grandma ever. She looked me up and down last year and said, “Yes, hm. I suppose you don’t need plastic surgery yet.” YET? WHAT? What am I going to need plastic surgery for?? And why did I barely make the cut?? I was feeling all cute, but then I felt like crawling in a corner and apologizing to everyone who had the unfortunate task of looking at me.

Plus, I mean, in-laws. That’s all there is to say about that, amirite?

So holidays stress me out. I ADMIT IT! I AM A SCROOGE!

Mental illness can make normal holiday stress even more difficult. I’m completely off of my routine, I’m under more anxiety than usual, I have to be all social when I hate being social, etc. The holiday season is not kind to the mentally ill. Lots of people kill themselves during this time, did you know that? “The most wonderful time of the year,” and people are killing themselves at alarming rates. I have no jokes about that one, y’all, because it’s not funny.

So. What do you do to decrease your stress during the holiday season? How do you keep your brain functioning like it should? Let’s comment with tips and all help each other out. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!

It’s Not That I Don’t Love a Good Scandinavian Tradition…

Allow me to begin by saying that I’m not Scandinavian.

Without spell check, I wouldn’t have properly spelled Scandinavian. True story. The little red squiggles alerted me to my cultural dumbness.

AND YET.

Look at the catalog I just got in the mail:

catalog

My first thought was that this was supposed to go to someone else…someone out there who not only knows how to spell “Scandinavian” but also perhaps has ancestors from there or a shelf full of books about it. Flip to the back…nope. It’s addressed to me by name.

Then I thought, “Welllp…wonder what sweepstakes I entered that made Hemslojd think this type of thing would be my jam? Perhaps I should stop handing out my address like Halloween candy.” I’m telling you, though – you win one little trip to Australia, and you are doomed to enter every sweepstakes you see. It’s a thing. (That trip was in 2009 – totally separate story, but a good one. Perhaps I’ll get to that in another post).

Anyway, however it got here, I was standing there with the Hemslojd magazine in hand. I probably should have thrown it away with the political ads and credit card applications and pesky last notice electricity bills (jk), but the tagline caught me – an adventure in Scandinavian tradition? Who doesn’t love a good adventure in Scandinavian tradition? So I procrastinated on doing the dishes and dove in.

Since most of you didn’t get a Hemslojd catalog in the mail today (poor you), I’ll highlight a couple of the products you can buy.

1. This upside-down “Uff da!” mug. I had no idea what “uff da” meant, but judging by the looks of the mug I figured it wasn’t something great. I figured maybe f*** you or something.

uffda

Google tells me that “uff da” is an interjection expressing bafflement, surprise, or dismay. Kind of like an unfortunate “Oh!” except way cooler because it’s “Uff da!” Goal for the day: use this phrase in context at least once. You can feel free to use it too. We’ll all tap into our nonexistent Swedish heritage (except if there are any Swedes reading this – then you’re awesome and thanks for such a fun expression to add to my vocabulary).

Don’t you feel cultured already? But wait, the adventure in Scandinavian tradition doesn’t stop there (dang it, red squiggles! I’ve done it again).

2. What is Surstromming? Because apparently it smells like shit but tastes like heaven, and I AM INTRIGUED, Y’ALL. I’m 50/50 on ordering this product off Amazon immediately. I’d order it from the Hemslojd catalog, but they’re only offering a dishtowel and cloth.

surstromming

UPDATE: I went to Amazon to investigate, and the top hit when I typed in “surstromming” was – I kid you not – this:

liquid

I just… I have no explanation. I’m concerned to see what this does to my “suggested items” list on Amazon. I didn’t mean it, Amazon!! I don’t want to buy liquid ass! This was an adventure in Scandinavian tradition that has gone horribly wrong!

Moving on. I had to find something pleasant.

3. Awww…look at these little gnome guys!

tomte

Oops. Not gnomes. Tomtes. In case you didn’t read the product description, here it is: “It is said that every home and farm has it’s own tomte, a good-natured little elf who has lived there for generations. He/she is a friend to the animals and all that needs looking after. All that is asked in return is a bowl of Christmas porridge with butter, and woe to those who forget!”

OH MY GOSH. I HAVE NEVER FED MY TOMTE.

Now life makes sense. Like how our gutters fell off last year? And how our garage door just broke? That wasn’t because of too much ice or normal wear and tear…that was a pissed off Tomte saying, “WHERE’S MY PORRIDGE, B?! I’ve taken care of this place for GENERATIONS. You suck!!” And now I feel really bad. Like, can I give it to him/her late? Do I have to wait until Christmas? Do I have to give a triple portion because we’ve lived here for three years? My bad, Tomte of my house. My bad.

4. Check this one out: Lutefisk soup.

creamoflutefisk

Upon preliminary research, I’ve discovered that Lutefisk soup is make from aged whitefish and is gelatinous in texture. It’s a little like Jello jigglers but except not like those at all, as far as I can tell. For a second with those tomtes and uff da I was wishing I was Swedish, but upon seeing that I might have had a childhood full of lutefisk soup, now I’m not so sure.

Anyway, I legit have to stop procrastinating, but I had to share my Scandinavian (BLAST YOU, RED LINES! HOW DO YOU SPELL THAT WORD?!) adventure with you. This one might even merit a follow-up post in the future, because now don’t you want to know what else is in this freaking awesome catalog?? I do! Plus, free shipping if I spend over $200…

Oh my. Someone throw this thing away.