Thursday, November 1, 2012

Holiday Tips

This is a repeat from a post done last year.  I thought I'd put it out there in advance of the holidays to give people time to prepare themselves.

Ahhh! The holiday season is upon us once again.  In case you've forgotten from last year (and the year before, and the year before, etc.), it's the time of year we all go crazy.  Everything we do is done to excess.  Here are a few things you might want to pay a little more attention to this year - some of them may even save or make you money.

Food - meals

If you need a helmet to eat it's probably too much food.
In my experience, most every family has some sort of large meal on or around Thanksgiving and Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or Festivus).  For most people, these two meals are the largest meals they will consume all year. 

As everyone knows, the best way to get your body to metabolize this gluttonous meal is to sit on the couch and nap.  Having the TV on will only make the process work that much better.  Carbs and starches magically disappear while sleeping, so if at all possible, do not attempt any form of physical exertion.

Since everyone else that comes to eat will be bringing food, don't bother making or buying anything.  Just show up and eat.  Nobody will know you didn't contribute as long as you don't mention it.  If someone asks, tell them you brought cookies and just dumped them on someone else's tray.

Before you leave, don't forget to take leftovers home with you.  Nobody gets tired of eating the same thing day after day after day.  You'll get to it at some point so don't worry about discovering it in the back of the fridge growing mold in a month.  By all means, load up and save on groceries for January.

Food - snacking

Not only do we gorge ourselves at mealtime, but we are constantly eating between meals.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind. 

1 - Chocolate aids in the digestive process of all other foods, especially those high in fat and cholesterol.  Be health conscious and load up on these. 

2 - Make sure you grab a handful (or two) of whatever salty snack is sitting out all month long every time you walk by the bowl.  Salt is good for you!  It can raise your blood pressure, which makes your heart have to work that much harder, which means your heart is getting stronger.  This additional labor can only continue as long as you feed calories into your body, so keep on cramming food into your gullet.  The only time you should stop is when you lose consciousness fall asleep.

If you find a bowl of something sitting out with no salt, don't immediately blame your host.  Nobody in their right mind buys unsalted foods at this time of year.  The simple explanation is this:  some child got hold of the snack and sucked off all the salt.  They are learning good nutritional habits at a young age, so don't chastise them.  Just grab a salt shaker and reapply.  If you've discovered the problem in time, the treat may still be moist enough to allow the new salt to stick.  Bonus!

3 - Doctors recommend drinking a lot of water, but water has no nutritional value.  Soda (aka pop, coke, soft drinks, colas, soda pops) is made from water - and has other added nutrients.  Don't waste precious cargo space on just water alone, make sure you have some additional artificially-occurring substance blended in with it.  And don't do the diet drinks; everyone knows the sweeteners used to make them cause cancer.
It still counts as one glass in my book
4 - In the spirit of combining things, make sure your soda has plenty of booze in it.  If you're not a booze person, do what you like.  Red wine is actually good for you.  If one glass is good, two has to be better.  The theory holds true - as long as you can hold your wine down.

Americans make or buy more treats during December than the other 11 months combined!  (I made that up, but it sounds good). 


Feel free to run up your credit card debt to buy as much stuff as possible.  Since housing prices always go up and mortgage rates always go down, you can always roll your credit card debt into a new mortgage and get a lower rate.  A win-win scenario! 

Once you discover all the crap you bought is no longer being used, typically within two weeks, you can start preparing for a garage sale.  No self-respecting garage sale shopper will try to haggle you down on pricing and most will pay more than face value for a semi-used toy with missing parts.  In effect, you have turned a profit on the holiday and can use those funds to buy more decorations as they should now be on sale! 

Win-win-win for team Griswold!
To quote my wife, "Looks like Christmas threw up on their house".

While we're on shopping, don't buy on-line.  Make sure you go stand in lines for hours on end to save the extra $1.47 you would have spent at an e-tailer.  Everything related to the Internet is a scam.  All those sites are doing is getting your credit card information and planning on stealing your money.  While you're at it, better cancel all credit cards, just to be safe.  Take your money out of the bank and only use cash.

Better safe than sorry.

If you're not much of a shopper, just get gift cards.  Everyone appreciates a $20 card to somewhere they'd never eat or to a regional store that doesn't exist where they live.  Nothing says "I cherish our relationship so much that I spent 12 seconds thinking about what to get you this year" quite like a prepaid Visa card.  And don't bother with wrapping it.  Any old envelope will do.  The best are reply envelopes which are typically enclosed in credit card offers.  Even though you won't be getting a credit card, you can still use the envelope and save some more cash.

You can make anything work if you try.  Visiting three different locations in one day is easy.  Not only do you get to buy gifts for three sets of people (and therefore get three sets in return to resell), you get to eat three times the amount of food and take home three times the amount of leftovers! 

Aside from family gatherings you can also plan on attending office parties, fundraisers, children's performances, get togethers with friends, and any other number of events you can either get invited to or invite yourself to.  Make sure you go to everything!  You simply cannot miss anything. 

You have the rest of the year to just hang out with your own family and enjoy them, so go ahead and sacrifice now.  You'll be thanking me for it later.

I hope this helps!  I look forward to hearing your success stories in the weeks and months to come!

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