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Keeping Your Cool at Christmas

relax (Photo credit: andy z)

Easier said than done. (Eyeroll and Sigh)

Way, way easier said than done. (Queue the 1.5liters of cheap hooch I hide at the back of the fridge)

As the holiday season approaches the pressure mounts….not only are you trying to wrap things up for year-end at the office, but your home obligations rise to unrealistic proportions. (Place head in hands and sigh. Begin weeping when waistband button pops off and injures the cat)

School plays, musical performances, sports dinners, dinner guests, overnight guests, club and association parties, fundraisers at each and every one of them, and making time for your friends, family and the love of your life. (Resort to the last few inches of gin left in the giant bottle that rests on the inside of the fridge door)

Ya right. Pass the tranquilizers, pass the wine, and pour me a double please Mr. Bartender. (Boyfriend ducks when you throw your glass at him after he says, “You’ve had enough. I’m not your Bartender. For the love of all that’s holy, go to bed!)

Ten Suggestions To Help Keep Your Cool at Christmas

1) Put all of those ‘friends’ who abandon supportive listening for the crass, ‘Suck it up’, on your list of folks to limit communication with. Also give them a grand old Ms. F. You under your breath.

2) Don’t answer your phone. If you have friends who consistently call when they know your program is on, you’re at work, or before 10am on the weekend, just turn your ringer off. (It was announced on the radio this morning that those of us who are able to ignore texts and calls are less likely to suffer high blood pressure and stress related afflictions).

3) Get lots of sleep. Eight hours minimum. Ten on the weekend if you’re a lush like me. That’s right, you’ll have to limit your commitments to some of the festivities outlined in #1.

4) Have a ‘happy hour’ when you get home. This will likely be a carry over for the new year too. Pour yourself a drink, put on some tunes, and enjoy half an hour of literally shaking off your day.

5) Make time for cuddling with your honey. In your flannel, in your jeans, in your birthday suit. The healing power of human touch is unprecedented in its efficacy.

6) Just buy it. Three to five extra boxes of chocolates, and half a dozen bottles of wine. Don’t over-think it. These things are great for last-minute hostess gifts, unexpected guests, and secret santa events. Any leftovers are simply a bonus.

7) Let someone do something kind for you; open a door, give you a hug, make you a meal, carry your bags, kiss you under the mistletoe so you forget all of your cares…hint, hint!

8) Let it go. Whatever is making you sad, weary, anxious, or angry. Take a deep breath, take another deep breath, and another….just be in the moment and try to find some joy right where you are.

9) Take a sick day. Don’t shop. Don’t run errands. Don’t go to appointments. Just rest your overworked, overloaded self.

10) Give up one tradition if you’re feeling overwhelmed ( for instance, I’m giving up sending Christmas cards this year – my friends will gasp – but it’s true – I’ve just got too much on my plate this year).

Even if you choose just one of these tips, I hope it brings you some peace and joy this Christmas.

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PMS for Christmas

Fireball Whisky
Fireball Whisky (Photo credit: Houston Marsh)

Today was the day.

The day I wanted to say, “I told you so”, to all of the cynics who read my blog about doing Christmas shopping extra early.

It was also the day I wanted to flip the bird to non-advanced-green-drivers and customer service teenloafs who work hard at avoiding customers or service, harder than they do at actually working.

It was the day I decided I’d rather chew glass than be in touch with the man for whom my fridge is filled with dark beer who makes me about as much a priority as clipping his toe nails.

But, having been a meditation and spiritual practitioner for years, I knew that the only thing to do to tame the PMS beast was to put my aggressive energy to work.  I decorated the house, scrubbed the bathroom, and put a roast in the oven, all in under two and a half hours. Yowsa mamma!

No matter what I do today, unless it involves a deliciously devilish drama on my duvet followed by a fabulous fling by the fireplace, I will feel less than sated.

So, being fully aware of my own limits, mamma has her hooch lined up for either a great read, or a totally indulgent chick flick. I also have a Mai-Tai mix chilling in case I need to prepare for a night of hot lovin’s with a long, hot, Leonard Cohen serenaded soak.

After the blinds are drawn, unless you come bearing your manhood under the mistletoe, or great gobs of chocolate and champagne, stay away, stay far, far away.




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Christmas Tipple: The Snug Sailor

Another edition of ‘Christmas in the Kitchen’….

warming up
warming up (Photo credit: a song under the sugar sugar)

….or perhaps I should say, Christmas in the Liquor Cabinet.

I’ve had a few inquiries about the recipe I referred to in my post THE CYNICAL ELF about this recipe, so I am graciously passing it along. My suggestion is to just be honest with yourself, and quadruple the recipe. After all, it’s unsafe to operate a stove after you’ve had a drink or two.

 The Snug Sailor


1 tbsp five-spice powder

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 oz Spiced Rum

2 oz Crabbies Ginger Beer

1 oz 35% Cream

1 oz 2% Milk

2 oz dulce de leche

1/2 lemon (zest & juice)

nutmeg for garnish


Stir five spice together with sugar

Rim a mug with the spice & sugar mixture

Add remaining ingredients to a pot and heat over medium heat

Whisk constantly until bubbling.

Serve in the mug rimmed with spiced sugar

Please enjoy responsibly in the cozy embrace of your rugged man-of-winter by the lights of the Christmas tree, or wrapped up fireside after a long session of merry-making.

Don’t drink and drive. Drink and make love. Happy holidays…..

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Missing You at Christmas Time

christmas star
christmas star (Photo credit: brockvicky)

Whether it’s through death, divorce or distance, sometimes who we miss creates a hole so vast in our souls that it’s hard to enjoy anyone’s company at Christmas time.

At my house, it’s all-Christmas-all-the-time from the last weekend in November until the great turkey-coma at the end of the day on the 25th. My door is open to friends and family, and I’m constantly busy in the kitchen baking cookies and meals to share.

But I miss someone terribly at Christmas time, and despite it being over a decade since we said good-bye, I still feel lonely sometimes.

Grief,especially fresh grief,  comes and goes like a wave. Some days are calm, and other days your grief can swell to tsunami proportions, or throw out a rogue wave when you least expect it.  Over time, grief becomes less intense but you will never forget.

Light a candle and honour your grief, acknowledge it, and let it settle in where it needs to.

It’s ok to be sad, and feel a bit lonely despite the festive celebrations and twinkling lights, just don’t let sadness manifest and ruin the time with the ones who are by your side.

I always say, “You can’t be sad when you’re drinking champagne.” I also think that it’s pretty hard to be sad when you’re sinking your teeth in to a jolly gingerbread man and sipping some eggnog.

Never forget, but honour their life and yours by cultivating joy.

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Oh F^@%!<G Christmas Tree

“Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit.”
~K. Hubbard~

“Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, what a pain in my voluptuous petunia are your branches….”or something like that.

Years ago I acquiesced to city living and succumbed to a fake Christmas tree.

I hate fake trees. I’ve always held them in the same, low regard as fake fingernails and bra padding. You know, kinda pretty until something falls off.

When I grew up, it was common to have visitors throughout the holiday season, “We’ve come to see the tree,” they would say, shaking the snow off their boots and settling in for a visit.

I grew up in a small town, and visitors were frequent and expected. The door was always open, and the tea kettle was always bubbling. Coming to ‘see the tree’, was just a longer visit, with more food, and a little nip of the hard stuff.

Tonight we put up our Christmas tree in the city. Fake needles catapulted to the ground, wiggled  inside my blouse, and stuck to my ample cleavage as I twisted and pulled lights and branches this way and that, twirling the ribbon, and placing the decorations just so.

Aaron Neville crooned in the background, as I honoured Elvis and cursed a blue, blue, blue Christmas  streak under my breath.

As I jerked the vacuum over the carpet and around the obstacle course of re-arranged furniture in the living room, I thought of how thankful I was to be planning so many lovely evenings with my friends this holiday. Not just around our Christmas tree, but the Christmas and Yule trees of others.

Our blue-blue-blue Christmas tree of cursing has not only been the scapegoat for my repressed frustration throughout the years, it’s been a symbol of peace, and shelter and abundance.

Children, friends, relatives, and lovers have gathered around my tree throughout the years ( not all at the same time, oh no – of course not, one must keep the menfolk in their place until they prove themselves worthy of meeting children and friends ). For the children, the friends and the relatives, this tree has strengthened our bond. For some of the lovers, it has been a revealing backdrop to their poor intentions.

People who want to be with you during the holidays are the ones that count. Lovers who have to be persuaded, and people who don’t bother taking time to celebrate are not worthy of your gorgeous greenery.

It’s the ones that make a priority of being with you, who just come to ‘see the tree’, and ask you to drop by and do the same. Perhaps you may even get a little mincemeat pie-faced with your pals by the warm glow of the untangled Christmas lights my darlings.

So this year, as you get picked and poked, and tangled in lights as you’re putting up your Christmas tree, I hope you have some wonderful memories that sparkle brighter than the lights.

And yes my beautiful, festive lovelies, do keep something bubbly on ice for me those friends who pop by.