Your Guide to Surviving Until 2016
Work + Life Balance

Your Guide to Surviving Until 2016

by Sydney Bernardo
November 09, 2015


It comes as no surprise that November and December are considered part of “the most wonderful time of the year.” But with pumpkin spice lattes and beautiful winter wear comes the chaos of family reunions, delayed flights, and holiday shopping. There’s definitely a lot on your plate (and I don’t just mean turkey and stuffing). But don’t worry – we got you covered with solutions to some of your craziest holiday situations.

Sometimes Thanksgiving can feel a lot like the scene in Beauty and the Beast where Lumiere sings Be Our Guest. Plate after plate of delicious-looking food is laid out in front of you and you start to think, “Yep. This is it… Revenge of the Freshman 15.” The truth is, you can enjoy big holiday feasts without skimping or, on the flip side, obsessing over calories.

First of all, portion control. There’s no doubt American portion sizes are much larger than those in other countries, but there’s no need to play into those standards. Change the game and put less on your plate the first time around. That way, you can assess if you’re still hungry afterwards, grab just the right amount for seconds, and save room for dessert.

Second, dress comfy. The last thing you want is the button of your jeans digging into your tummy after a big meal. Opt for leggings (or a dress with tights for a more formal affair) to make sure you have all the room you need post-feast. Besides, what better way to celebrate fall than by breaking out those adorable, over-sized sweaters?

And in the case you do go a little overboard (I’ll admit I’ve definitely been guilty of having too much mashed potatoes), don’t let the food coma prevent you from going about the rest of the holiday. Put the leftovers aside — preferably in separate containers — and check with a local food bank or homeless shelter to see how you can donate and clear up some space in the refrigerator.

You’re enjoying a nice conversation with your family when, all of a sudden, it starts to go south. Maybe someone decides to be Donald Trump and say something controversial, turning the dinner table into a full-fledged debate. Or maybe a well-meaning-but-annoying aunt probes a little too hard about your love life. My best advice? Deflect. Helping out with the cooking, set up, or cleaning gives you the opportunity to seem so busy that you have no time for petty conversation or bickering.

Another option is to invest yourself in whatever football game is on. Whether you’re feigning interest or are genuinely excited about football season, it always seems a little more acceptable to disengage from conversation while watching sports.

Don’t get me wrong, Carrie Bradshaw was definitely my spirit sister the moment she said, “Shopping is my cardio.” But between rent, groceries, and saving for retirement (and spin class, let’s be honest), holiday shopping can really add up, especially if you have a long list of people to shop for. In which case, preparation is everything.

Make a list, check it twice, set a budget and stick to it. This also means doing your homework. But you shouldn’t just be comparing prices and researching the best models of a product. Do a little more digging about the person you’re shopping for as well. Would they appreciate a novelty gift or something more practical? How about DIY or homemade goods?

One great idea I stumbled upon on Pinterest is the “gift in a jar” — something that won’t break the bank and that you can customize for every person on your list. Gifts in a jar are a great way to combine your fun, creative side with the desire to give something they’ll actually use.

Whether you’re stuck in an airport or in economy next to Chatty Cathy, traveling always seems to pose unique challenges. Sure, there’s a chance that you’ll be seated next to your soulmate or someone who would refer you for a job a few months down the road — like the experience one of my best friends recently had. But for those of us less lucky, again, the best advice is to be prepared. Your flight may not come with snacks or movies to distract you, so be sure to stock up on goodies (I recommend Double Stuf Oreos), tunes, and maybe a good book or two. Asking for a glass of wine doesn’t hurt either, as long as you don’t go overboard and end up like Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids.

As for the stranger falling asleep on your shoulder? Wake ‘em up and let ‘em know. Life’s too short to have unwanted drool on your comfy-yet-adorable travel outfit.

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Have any other survival tips to get us through the end of 2015? Comment below!