Sports & Wellness

Combatting the Holidays

Christopher Vanderburgh
December 9, 2018

If you’re like me you’re probably dreading the coming holiday season. Whether its the family dinners or busy travel, any activity during this time of year can be truly hellish in nature. How can you make it from Christmas Eve to New Year's Eve without contemplating going on a homicidal rampage? Short of living in a cave like the Grinch there seem to be very few solutions. One way or another the expectations placed on university age folks like us seem to be unrealistic at best. Hands down the one thing that everyone struggles with is what to get your friends and loved ones on a budget. In an effort to curb the impending depression I’ve compiled a list of things you can get family and friends for the holidays. Best of all these things don't cost you a dime. If you follow these tips when it comes time for old Saint Nick you can sit back comfortably and assume the role of old Saint Dick.

1. Say Merry Christmas

“Happy Holidays!” is perhaps my favourite phrase in the English language. Often uttered in an attempt to mitigate the stress caused by the one Jewish person you might know actually caring how you greet them. We get it, not everyone celebrates Christmas and these days if you don’t conform to this nondenominational greeting you might offend someone but it is an awful lot of effort. This season just save yourself the work and say: “Merry Christmas!” Even if you can’t celebrate the birth of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ you can certainly celebrate rampant impersonal consumerism. Thats a value we can all get behind. You can even aggressively give this gift to strangers.

2. Keep Your Opinions to Yourself

The holidays offer a distinct opportunity to reconnect with friends and family. You’ll be forced to interact with the cousin that maintains a hug just a little too long or that uncle that manages to bring up how goofy you looked at 16. No matter what strange zoo you belong in you’ll have to socialize with all of them. Instead of getting all these people a gift you can get them all the gift of relative silence. Everyone appreciates a hearty political debate but when Grandpa starts talking about the dangers of feminism things can get a little awkward. Try your best not to contribute to this phenomena by staying silent on all matters Trump and Ford. Thats why this season you’ll be getting your family a very special gift. The gift of keeping your fucking mouth shut. Make sure those lips stay zipped and you’ll avoid telling Aunt Sarah just how racist you really think she is. This gift keeps on giving.

3. Keep it Social

With all of the family activity going on and plenty of alcohol available it can be a struggle to resist the urge to drink until you pass out face first in your Christmas dinner. This Christmas give the gift of sobriety. Skip the fifth of vodka and stick to the extra large bottle of pinot this season. Keeping it social with the fam is a struggle but it’s a little cheaper than gifts and one whole hell of a lot cheaper than therapy. This gift idea is a personal favourite of mine, my family is getting “Five Beer Chris” this year.

4. It Really is the Thought That Counts

Its often cheaper to make a gift that comes from the heart than to go out and buy one. If you’re like me you don’t have the time or the money to do either. Don’t get your mother a shitty handmade card, get her the cheapest gift of all: compliments. “Those are lovely earrings” or “That MAGA shirt just looks so good on you” all compliments are free. As the broke losers of olde would say, it really is the thought that counts.

5. Keep Holiday Wishes Achievable

“What do you want for Christmas?” A question every person loathes. University student shave an especially hard time with this question because we have very distinct needs which are rarely met properly by the Holiday Season. Instead of having family work with what they think you might want, just be straight up about it. It would be easy to just say “nothing” but there are some classic items that university students need.

Give the gift of keeping gift giving easy by asking for any of the following:


Gift Cards

Prepaid Visa Cards

Cheques of fifty dollars or more

Premium Liquor


The holidays are a war zone. Crossing your fingers and praying that nobody asks what you’re doing after graduation used to be the standard operating procedure for Christmas. This year will be different. Following these simple gift ideas will serve to make life easier. The holidays don’t have to be a nightmare. Merry Christmas and remember, shut your mouth,maintain a strong buzz and don't give shit to anyone.

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