17 Steps to making it through a family Christmas smiling

On the Twelfth night of Christmas my true love gave to me “1 dented bumper, 2 COVID masks, 3 alcohol bans, 4 new neurosis, 5 illegal cigarettes, 6 sanitizers, 7 Eskom blackouts, 8 bounced debit orders, 9 toilet rolls, 10 Tiktok videos, 11 Malema memes and a year that was twenty twenty!”

If ever there were a Christmas that didn’t really feel like Christmas, this is it – well, for our generation, at least. Unless you were around for the World Wars, this is pretty much the craziest one we’ve had.

We are South Africans, and for us at Lorem Ipsum, we are Capetonians, which means that no matter what goes down around us, there will be some or another form of celebration. Be it with the neighbors because the family is quarantined in another province, and whether we eat mealie pap and the kids get Kitkats for Christmas – we will Christmas. Because we can.
All is not so bleak, and many of us will still be spending time with family and friends over the coming few days, which means you need a guide to surviving the festivities.

Hydrate. When you wake up in the morning make sure the first thing you do is drink a tall glass of water. Then keep doing that every couple of hours. Should you be enjoying with alcohol, be sure and drink one full glass of water after every two units of alcohol. Trust us.

If you pass an empty lavatory – go. Even if you don’t think you really need to at that point. By the time you do need to go, there WILL be a line.

Wear your food pants. Be they yoga pants, tracksuit bottoms, Pajama pants – anything with a nice comfortable elasticated waist.

Stay Over. If you are driving to friends or family for either Christmas or New Years, try and organize to sleep over. Even if you have a designated driver, there are plenty of crazies on the road.

Do not attempt to enjoy your family stone-cold sober. Stock up on the wine and have a secret stash somewhere. While we are not condoning excessive alcohol consumption (or even any alcohol consumption under normal circumstances) Christmas family gatherings require alcohol for health reasons. Mental health reasons.

Give up. It’s too late to Christmas shop. Really. Save your sanity. If you missed someone, make them a homemade voucher for something they need done around the house, for a meal out, doing their laundry for a week, or (if you have the cash) a gift voucher for their favorite online bookstore. We got my brother’s kids a six-month Showmax subscription (half price) which he had said was an “unnecessary expense”. We are now popular with the nephews.

Do not give singing, ringing, noisy gifts to children, unless you really don’t like their parents.

Grease Up. Never drink on an empty stomach, and make sure whatever you eat before the festivities begin is oily enough to create a protective layer. We like the traditional Gatsby or Chip roll as a pre-party snack.

Give yourself a time-out. You are allowed to spend time alone, at peace, reading or watching Love Actually and Die Hard. You need the break.

Pre-Emptive Hangover preventer: Before you go to sleep – two full glasses of water and two Panado.

Hangover Cure (in case you missed step eight): First – have a shower, it helps. Then – Cream Soda, Slap Chips, fried eggs (sunny side up), hashbrowns, orange juice and two Panado.

(For those with siblings) Delete your browser history before your siblings arrive. Also, hide any cute items of clothing (including oversized sweaters) your sisters will appropriate. Hide anything with embarrassment value (especially those with new spouses).

Bring / Stock Up on extra: loo roll, Panados, crisps, band aids, wine. If you can afford it, buy a couple of those large Cadbury slabs, nice reusable shopping tote bags, as gifts for the unexpected guests, neighbor’s kids, etc.

Every time someone says either “Covid”, “Corona” , or “My fellow South Africans” everyone has to take a drink.

Get to the difficult kids early and use bribery and blackmail. Set three well defined behavior goals, a timeframe for those goals to be adhered to, and the reward. Make sure they understand that if they mention the bribery to any other adult they will forgo said reward, and have one Christmas gift removed for every time they break the code.

Find a good seat early on and establish dominance over it. Spill something on it if needs be. Drape your clothes over it. Really set up shop. Do not lose the good seat.

Make salads before the fact, so that you don’t end up stuck in the kitchen and losing your seat.

Give up early. There will be drama, there will be things spilled, there will be unexpected happenings. The light bulb will probably go in the loo. It will NEVER be perfect. As long as you’re with people you love, that’s okay. If you can’t be with them, call them.

If you are celebrating in South Africa, bring a jacket, warm socks, a towel, and a swimming costume. Because you know, mos.

Last but not least – Guys please, be sensible. Social Distance, sit outside, open windows, wash your hands, wear a mask while preparing food for others – just be lekker. Covid sucks.

*Disclaimer – While this post was written in the spirit of fun (and based on our own experience) we by no means condone excessive drinking. If you are choosing to do it all sober – we salute you! Don’t let anyone tell you how to live.