Some Advice You'll Forget By Next Christmas
If you're like me, you put the Christmas tree, ornaments, lights, etc. all in the back of the least used closet because, well, it's the thing you think you're least likely to use. This is false. You'll use your Christmas stuff much more than the boxes of CDs and other stuff you hoard but refuse to throw away. Put some thought into your closet situation as you're hauling everything out. When it's time to put the stuff away, you don't want to add to the chore by clearing a path to the back one box at a time.
Just spend five minutes doing a quick inventory of everything you've had to remove to get to the holiday trimmings, and make a quick mental calculation of frequency of necessity. If you haven't looked in a certain box in over a year, put it behind the seasonal stuff. If you do, put it in front. You'll find yourself avoiding decorating a lot less if there are fewer annoying steps involved.
Encourage Your Family to Institute a Strict "No Politics" Rule
Maybe your family is all slanted one way or the other, and the holiday meals can be a gleeful session of pounding the opposition, whoever that may be. Odds are, though, that at least one person in attendance is going to be diametrically opposed to someone else's viewpoint. Is this really the time to provoke them?
And that's all you're really doing. You're kicking them under the table like a five-year-old to see how good a shot you can get in before mom tells you to knock it off. It's juvenile and petty. Save it for Facebook or in an e-mail war. Luckily, it'll be a while before this amps back up to such a level again. Whenever the holiday email with time and such goes out, just put "No Politics" somewhere in it and you'll be good to go.
Plan Your Holiday Like a Hurricane
The Wife With One F jokes that I treat getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas like I treat disaster prep, and she's absolutely right. Stores will be closed, and so will banks. Take out some cash to have on hand just in case. Do you have diapers? Paper towels? Is there gas in the car? Even in this day and age, you still find pumps that don't work automatically when the station is closed.
Make sure you have food and drink, too. No matter how much you may be looking forward to leftovers, someone might beat you to them. Or maybe the turkey turned out bad this year. Whatever the reason, squirrel some of your normal fare away just in case. And for God's sake, make sure you're covered for alcohol. That previous rule I mentioned is hard to enforce, and you may need medicine for that particular snakebite. Speaking of things that drive you to drink.