How to not become a monster during the holidays

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I don’t know what it is about the holidays that turn normally mild mannered people into monsters. That makes them forget they had mothers who taught them manners and fathers who disciplined them. That brings forth an insanity that, for some reason, is reserved especially for this time of the year. Is it some lunar phenomenon, some perpetual full moon? Is the changing in color of the leaves just too much beauty to handle? Is some cartel leader lacing the pumpkin spice lattes? I have no clue, but whatever the case this appalling behavior needs to stop and I’m here to help. This holiday season, while you are out with your family, when you are shopping and traveling, follow these three rules to preserve your holiday sanity.



I know this may sound hard, but this needs to be the first thought when you step out the door. For some marketing-consumption driven reason, the holidays put everyone’s stress and anxiety levels at 10+, but go out with the mind state that the little things won’t bother you.  Have the assumption that everyone is crazy and they will let you down and prepared for it. Be vigilant on the roads and assume that turn signals will not be used, but cell phones will be and sporadic driving will be at level red. Yes, people will be angry and vicious at every mall and grocery store. No, it is not you it is them. Constantly remind yourself of that.

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keep calm


You’re a thinking being – all frontal lobes and cortexes and such and this is the time when you’ll need to exercise every inch of that brain. Make things make sense in the madness. Know that EVERYTHING will take longer: lines, traffic, reservations etc. Expect it and prepare for it. Download podcasts, music or books or travel because you will need to add an extra hour to everything.

Go with what you know. You know there will be traffic, so leave early or try different routes. You know there won’t be parking, so instead of spending around a parking lot, waiting and honking and yelling and cursing, just straight for the further spots and go with the first available. You could drive around for 25 minutes finding a spot to save you five minutes of walking. Be logical. You know that certain products sell out faster during the holidays…because it happened to you last year, so this time try to plan ahead. Contrary to popular colloquialisms, the holidays don’t literally sneak up on you. You know those electronics, pies, turkeys and hams you so desperately need. Yeah, they won’t be available the night before you need them and running around causing problems for everyone else and stressing yourself out won’t help.

black friday


Don’t be that angry, attitude splattered, impatient person who makes traffic on the road, who doesn’t let you move around them in the store, who acts like they’ve forgotten how life works. Don’t be the speed demon in the overly crowded parking lot. Don’t be the person who throws around clothes frantically looking for certain sizes, making it difficult for both the over worked store employees and other patrons. Please don’t. Be good. Help someone out with finding something, help someone reach an object, let someone go ahead of you, the coffee shops are all packed – buy someone else a cup, ask someone how they are doing, help make someone’s job or day a little better and use your damn turn signal.

father daughter

I mean who told you you needed to follow the societal template of how a holiday looks. Do something new. Change the paradigm. Work from home. Do a half day. Take a day off. Cook a different meat, a different pie,  a different food, go to different places. Who told you Black Friday was a sacred day? Who told you you HAD to have something because for this weekend only it’s 40% off? Do we need anything of this stuff, these things? Can we just ignore them, denounce them and then move on not having them because we didn’t need them.  We don’t have to participate in this charade. You can just sit back and watch it all burn down and manically laugh into your ginger cookies.

The holidays should be a time for family, friends, being grateful, coming together, helping others and enjoying ourselves. If we keep this tradition up we’ll have another year where we spend two months being frustrated with the unnecessary and then, in the pop of a champagne bottle, it’s over.

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Jamal Frederick - Second Hand Scribe

Jamal Frederick - Second Hand Scribe

Born in all the jazz that is Fillmore, San Francisco, Jamal has moved all around the beautiful Bay Area. Currently living in the SF diaspora, the married Jamal raises babies, makes cocktails and writes. He is currently working on multiple projects with the most recent being his San Francisco-centric cocktail book: Souvenir. Follow him online, find him, try his drinks, read his writing and have a good conversation with him, he needs adult company...