Holidaysthe good, the bad, and the mediocre

Even with the season of Holiday in full swing, joy and festivity abound, things can still go wrong and make this season the most stressful and frustrating part of the year. From the worst to the best, here are the top ten things to remember about the holiday season: 1. Travel Over the river and through the woods, through the security checkpoint, remove your shoes, no liquids or gels, arrive at the gate two hours before your flight is scheduled to leave, be sure you didn’t pack anything that the people searching your bags could accidentally break… getting to Grandma’s house isn’t the same these days. Also, airline food: am I right? 2. Sweaters “Oh, thanks Great-Aunt Bertha! It’s great! I really wanted one of these!” Pretending that you like the annual nasty woolen sweater before throwing it in a closet forever is an inevitable and award-worthy performance. Instead of an Oscar, though, all you get is some crummy sweater, and extra insulation material for your closet. (Editor’s Note: He’s just kidding, Aunt Bertha! We love you and your thoughtful presents!) 3. Holiday Spirit This time of year should be enjoyable – and people who don’t find something to be happy about probably shouldn’t be trusted. However, holiday spirit is being terribly abused by people who like tackiness. If you’re wearing a fuzzy blue sweater with a giant tacky snowman or snowflake on it or chintzy candy cane earrings, here’s a hint: those people staring at you aren’t appreciating your holiday spirit. If your yard display features flashing lights or neon, you’ve gone way too far. 4. Snow It’s pretty to watch it fall, if you’re in a warm room looking out through a frosty window, but the novelty lasts about five seconds before being replaced by hours of shoveling the sidewalk, driveway, and the street that the city never seems to find the time to plow. 5. Presents Giving presents is supposed to be about making people happy, and showing your love for them. Sometimes this is replaced by mere greed, and the idea that spending money is the most important part of gift-giving. The look on people’s faces when they get a really good present chosen for them can be wonderful, but crass materialism is not. 6. Anything that takes attention away from politics For a brief time, we can finally have some relief from all the constant mudslinging. Tired of hearing candidates bicker over who was less (or more, in some cases) cruel to immigrants or who accepted campaign contributions from whom? At least you can take a break and watch some holiday specials, go sledding, or listen to some Christmas carols. 7. Partridges in pear trees The graceful sweep of the partridge’s wings, the intertwining reds of its beak and the yellows of ripe pears – they create an image of tranquil beauty befitting this peaceful time. And hey, free pears! I love pears! 8. Seeing relatives again Cleaning every inch of the house and moving the entire family into an assortment of cots in one room to make room for more never seems like fun at first. Though it can be stressful to prepare for relatives arriving, it’s always worth it to see Great-Auntie Bertha. 9. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire Just like partridges and pear trees, open fires and snow go together almost as well as oil and water. Be sure that your open fire isn’t near anything else flammable, though, like Christmas trees. Of course, you can always go to a trained professional who sells roasted chestnuts if you know better than trusting yourself to make an open fire – they’re almost as cheap as instant ramen! 10. Snow Days What could be better than waking up on a dark, frigid morning, looking out the window to see a foot-thick layer of snow on the roads, only to sink back under the covers or sip a cup of hot cocoa? So we have to make it up in June, big deal! I’d rather take the extra break now (not in any way related to the fact that I’m a senior and don’t have to make it up).