If, by some Christmas miracle, you haven’t been outside since before October (not that weird in 2020 tbh) and you need some official confirmation: the holidays are upon us. Yup, It’s time for fugly sweaters, overeating, questionable gifting, and watching awful Hallmark Channel movies. Ok sure, there is fun ahead, a little low-key family time, home cooking, and excuses to start drinking early in the day. But, surviving the landmine-filled holiday season can be tricky. So, as our gift to you, we’ve got your ultimate guide to surviving the holidays, filled with all our Squatch Tips for how to make the best of it.
Squatch Tip #1: The Best Gifts are Useful Gifts
Gifting is probably one of the most stress-inducing situations during the holiday season. So this year, try and think about gift-giving differently. Instead of thinking, “What am I going to get them?” think more “What would be useful to them?” It’s less about giving “stuff” and more about enjoyment and experiences. Things like handy kitchen tools, a fun getaway at an isolated cabin, a piece of home fitness equipment, a camping pack addition, a cozy WFH robe, you get the idea.
Also, it’s time to fully embrace feeling good about giving a gift card. They get dumped on for not being “thoughtful” but there are definitely thoughtful (and easy) ways to do it. Back to that whole useful idea, it just takes a little thought about what might be useful to the recipient. So, gift cards for things like a bacon of the month subscription, home beer brewing kit, ski/snowboard lift tickets, or a selection of hot sauces. You’re better than just a Starbucks gift card, trust us.
Finally, when in doubt, give the most useful gift of all: Booze. “I’m disappointed in this gift of free alcohol,” said literally no one ever. You can’t go wrong, but just make sure to do it thoughtfully (sensing a theme here?).
It’s also a great way to support your local shops and small business. You can hit up your local beer store or wine shop and ask for a recommendation based on your price point. Moves like this show a bit more effort than just picking up a bottle of grocery store wine (not that there’s anything wrong with grocery store wine of course). Aaaannd while you’re at it, maybe grab something for yourself too. You’re welcome.
Squatch Tip #2: How to Ace Meeting The Parents
You’re staring down the barrel of one of the toughest tests a man can face: meeting your S.O’s parents over the holidays. Courageous warriors have fallen to lesser missions, but we know you’re up to it and we’re here to help.
The key to a successful strategy begins with keeping it simple: be smart and be yourself. But, the best version of yourself. From there, consider the following points as a foolproof guide to success on your quest.
- Dress to impress – We’re not saying rock your best suit here, but definitely come correct. Family gathering dress codes can vary wildly so do your research. The key is to go slightly dressier than everyone else. Not over the top, just sharp. Keep your hair and grooming in check too, you don’t want snide dad jokes about your messy mane or caveman beard over desert.
- Never, ever show up empty handed – A decent bottle of wine or booze is a great place to start (Protip: Pick her brain for her dad’s favorite). Do a little research for something unique and your thoughtfulness will be rewarded.
- Be funny and be humble – Keep it light, avoid awkwardness, and always be complimentary (the food, the decoration, her mom’s hair, all 3). But don’t try too hard, this isn’t the place for your standup routine or bragging about “crushing it at work”.
- In the end, it’s about her – Yup, this is more about her than it is you. If you show them how much you care, you’re going to win the day.
Fear not Squatch Nation, with proper strategy plus a firm handshake and solid eye contact you’ll be getting that return invitation in no time.
Squatch Tip #3: Join the Anti "All I Want For Christmas is You" Rebel Force
You’ve likely heard it 183,450 times already and every time it’s like a q-tip a bit too far in the ears. It’s time to take a stand. Mariah Carey aside, the bigger point here is: you don’t have to suffer through terrible holiday music. You can still feel those festive vibes (and make Mom happy) without subjecting everyone to the same version of “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree” that you’ve heard over and over for the last 15 years.
The key is to dive into non-traditional bands/artists covering Christmas songs, and all it takes is a little commitment and some digging on Spotify. The right artists are festive, family-friendly, and different enough from the usual boring stuff to be super enjoyable. A few of our favorite holiday music picks:
Squatch Tip #4: The Ugly Christmas Sweater Is A Privilege Not A Right
How to do it right? Honor the words of a legend, Ron Swanson, “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing. Commit yourself 100%.” To summarize Mr. Swanson, if you’re gonna go, go big.
Go all out on your sweater, make it loud and proud. Bonus points for bedazzling, large embroidered landscapes or animals, and things that light up. Fully embrace the Christmas spirit with the craziest sweater you can wear, and, most importantly, wear it with confidence. One final tip, don’t neglect the hair. Ugly shouldn’t apply to the sweater AND your hair, so give that sweater the hairstyle it deserves.
Squatch Tip #5: Any Movie is a Holiday Movie if You Try Hard Enough
Food coma is setting in and you’ve got some crucial downtime decisions to make, so why limit yourself to some snoozer? Christmas Vacation? A classic. Elf? A must-watch. Home Alone? An absolutely essential holiday movie about negligent parents and extremely unskilled robbers.
But we’re also going to endorse another strategy here: Movies that take place DURING Christmas also qualify as holiday movies to widen your options for more entertainment potential.
Case in point: Die Hard is absolutely a Christmas movie. Explosions and gun fights during the holiday season make it an appropriate watch. Plus, it kicks ass. How about a deep cut? Try The Ref featuring peak-Dennis Leary as a thief who breaks into the wrong house. It’s dark, hilarious and a phenomenal against-the-grain holiday movie.
Squatch Tip #6: Pace Yourself
Maybe it goes without saying, but 2020 has been a lot. So this year, maybe more than ever, take some time to slow down. Just chill out and take some time to yourself. Take a solo trip, a long drive, or a hike. Maybe just take a vacation day, crack a beer, and watch all of the MCU movies in a row (make sure to eat and sleep though).
The point is, the holidays are busy and stressful enough as is, so use this “you time” to take a breather from the shitshow and mentally recharge. Most importantly, don’t forget to take some time to reflect and recognize what’s going well and what you’re grateful for, no matter how simple.