Photo by Patty Michels
We’re on the last leg of the holiday marathon, people. So close we can almost see the depressing, grey, Christmas light-less tip of January. At a time of year when our checking account balances are low and our stress level is high, I’ve polled a diverse group to offer some holiday tips. Enjoy.
I’ll start things off:
Sarah Terez Rosenblum (werewolf owner) Although many are lukewarm about the concept of zoos, I had a pretty awesome time at Lincoln Park Zoo Lights. Sure, the hot pretzels cost twenty dollars, but I’m a sucker for anything dazzling. Unchecked, I'll stare at a chandelier for an hour. If you’re looking for ice sculptures, passed out lions and Christmas trees choreographed to blink on and off in time with music, Zoo Lights will overflow your holiday cup.
Lisa Jenn Bigelow (librarian and author of “Starting From Here”): One of my biggest de-stressing achievements was agreeing with my family to make charitable donations rather than give material gifts. Of course, now I stress over that, but at least it greatly reduces the amount of time I spend in stores, worrying over whether I'm wasting my money on a gift that won't be used.
Lane West (voice over actor): Booze, prescription meds, having friends over for holiday feasts; sometimes mixing the three.
Lane West demonstrates.
Amy Sutton (retail manager): If you still need to shop, do it early in the morning or late at night. You will miss the crowds. Also, the retail workers are pretty beat up right about now, so the teensiest bit of kindness will get you everything you need!
Susan Stachowicz (teacher): I bought Christmas presents this summer when I was traveling. So [the gifts are] unique and unavailable locally.
This is an example of a vacation. Because of the palm tree.
Marie Macula (archivist): Construct an elaborate lie about your current life and bring it up whenever relatives ask you inappropriate questions.
Jamie Lauren Keiles (college student and December's Crush): Bulk food bins at the supermarket and a script for Xanax
One day I hope to live in a bulk bin.
Janelle Galvin: (retail worker) Though I only have five other family members in the state, there's a lot of activity on Christmas eve. My mother is the organist at her church and my father is in the choir, my aunt is in the choir at a different church, and they never quite match up. A while ago, we decided that instead of doing a big sit-down dinner we would make a dozen or so appetizers and Christmas cookies that could sit out all night and people could just come and go as necessary without feeling like they were ditching the fam. Also, if one of the appetizers doesn't come out well, there are so many others that it makes no difference - zero holiday meal stress!
Corin Sailor (mother): Speaking as a new mother, set the bar low. They have nothing to compare it to.
Linda Michels (nuclear medicine technologist): If you like crafts, make the gift! More fun and meaningful than shopping. Soaps, candles, ornaments, and cookies, all good ideas.
My SO seriously made this.
Chai Wolfman (artist) White Elephant gift exchange and Old Fashioneds.
Cristina Chopalli (writer) Brazilian Wax.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for a number of web sites and print publications. Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," (Soft Skull press) is available for pre-order here. She is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
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