The Hook’s Guide To Surviving The Holidays.

Decking the halls with boughs of holly (whatever the hell that actually means) sounds great on paper but the holidays make most people want to deck the halls with gallons of blood.

Sure, we need those family bonds to sustain us, but let’s be honest, they’re as cutting as they are healing. And when you factor in holiday shopping excursions from Hell, a seemingly-endless loop of Christmas cartoons and the general commercialization of the holidays, well, it’s no wonder most cartons of eggnog are quickly emptied and refilled with vodka almost immediately.

But have no fear, The Hook is here to help. Do your best to follow these brief tips (you have preparations to… prepare, so I’ll get right to it) and there a good chance you’ll emerge from this holiday season mostly unscathed.

tumblr_nh0otpebw91qa5etko1_500You can do this, trust me.

ONE)  Shop early!  Yes, I realize it’s a bit late for me to be doling out this advice. Make a blood sucking lawyer even richer… sue me. But my advice is sound. Scouring the web and flyers for deals all year round is not only the key to avoiding those trips to the mall that inevitably transform you into a raging ball of stress, it can save you plenty of buckies.

Which you’ll need for vodka nog. 


TWO)  Pay attention to your loved ones!  Sure, it won’t be easy, especially when they’re droning on during Game of Thrones, but if you take a few minutes to listen to your family and friends you can figure out what they’re into and maybe you can get lucky and score that item when it goes on sale in July rather than when it gets marked up 150% on December. Unless you’re filthy stinking rich, in which case, knock yourself out, Moneybags.

By the way, here’s a tip to utilize when searching for electronics:

  1.  Pay attention to which neighbors have up-to-date electronic swag.
  2.  Pay even closer attention to when those neighbors go out of town…
  3.  Case said neighbors homes for alarms, cranky dogs, etc.
  4.  You feelin’ me yet?


THREE)  If you don’t love Frosty or Rudolph… click away!  Never forget, there’s always a realty show (just avoid anything with a Kardashian), a home reno program or if you’re really desperate, a news channel available 24/7. My wife loves Christmas cartoons but I prefer Scrooged, so you can see my problem, right? But if you’re not me, you should be golden.



FOUR)  Don’t let Hallmark ruin your Christmas!  Do the holidays – whatever holiday you subscribe to – your way. There can be no denying that corporations rule our lives but that doesn’t mean they have to dictate your behavior. If you want to go out for Chinese food (like we are this year)  instead of spending hundreds on a Butterball turkey, stuffing and dozens of extras… go for it! It’s your thing, do what you wanna do.

(Don’t ask me where all the slammers are coming from. I just love exclamation marks. Or rather, I just love exclamation marks!)


FIVE)  Walk away from the familial battle royales!  Sounds simple, right? But I know it isn’t. After all, holidays are synonymous with family angst and grudges. But here’s the thing: these battles can be avoided if you really want to embrace the motion of peace rather than war.

Our family knows us better than anyone so they know just which buttons to push, which memories to evoke. In some cases these memories are just too painful to bear and so the only real way to walk away from the battle is to remove yourself from the battlefield all-together. This is a bit harsh I know, but I’ve had to do it and while it hurts more than I can ever articulate (my attitude comes from a real place, friends) the alternative was more than I could bear.

We all love our family – but we should love our sanity more. So if you can’t swallow your pride and co-exist with Aunt Flo, stay away from the broad.

Her fruitcake sucks anyway.



Happy holidays, everyone. I love you all. Truly.

See you in the lobby, kids…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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37 Responses to The Hook’s Guide To Surviving The Holidays.

  1. Sarah Nicole says:

    Or you can be like me and skip the gift giving altogether. 😉

    Great list!

  2. davidprosser says:

    Have a Good One, return in one piece.

  3. Purpleanais says:

    Haha, tip number 1 is indeed redundant 😉
    Love number 3 and 4 though – thanks for helping to make my hangover a little more bearable 😀

  4. Marion Hardy says:

    Excellent advice Hook. Merry Christmas to you and your girls and enjoy your Chinese dinner!!
    xoxo. Marion and Sadie the beagle.

  5. Allie P. says:

    Scrooged is such a great movie. I’m a fan of Nightmare Before Christmas too, though can never decide if it is a Christmas movie or a Halloween.

    Happy holidays to you!

  6. C.E.Robinson says:

    Excellent tips! Not a traditionalist, so tiny table Christmas tree, no gifts, and out for Christmas dinner or maybe breakfast at Denny’s fine dining diner! Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Robert! 🎄 Christine

  7. List of X says:

    There’s no need to risk being caught casing the neighbors’ houses. Just friend them on Facebook, and you’ll know when they are on vacation, whether they have a dog, and whether there’s anything valuable in the house.

  8. Have a wonderful holiday no matter how you celebrate!

  9. Great advice, Hook. I’m with you on the Butterball. It’s the time to eat what you want not what is proscribed. I’ve been watching the neighbors and they won’t leave.

  10. Deck the halls with gallons of blood is pretty much my attitude to Christmas.

    As for my dinner tomorrow? Toasted giant crumpets, cheese, thickly sliced bacon, baked beans. Oh, and wine. Quite a lot of that, probably.

    Bah! Humbug! I have a hat emblazoned with those very words.

  11. Theresa says:

    Watch out for the smiling goose at the Chinese Restaurant! That’s one of my favorite Christmas movies, The Christmas Story.
    Anyway, thank you for all the laughs and insight this past year. Glad I found you on the web, you make me laugh out loud.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous, healthy and happy New Year, Hook!

  12. My favorite bit of advice here, is do the holidays your way. Absolute gold there! Leave all those “shoulds” and “ought to’s” right where they belong: out in the cold. Enjoy your own little family this next several days, and to heck with everyone else!

  13. Waiting for sunset on Christmas Eve is like standing toes-over-the-edge on a high diving board.
    Every year we’d cruise casually by the window to keep an eye on the sun’s progress until it was officially evening.
    Then the shout “Christmas Eve Gift!” would ring out.
    You see, the traditions says that the first person to voice that phrase on Christmas Eve to another would be graced with good fortune and joy all the next year.
    (And of course, whomever was first won. Everything was a contest…)
    It’s more difficult to be first now with caller ID.
    As all those who have become my friends in blogland are spread widely across time zones, I’d like to wish you all “Christmas Eve Gift” now.
    And as I already feel so fortunate to have such wonderful readers and writers in this neighborhood, I wish to share any phrase acquired good fortune and joy with you in thanks.
    No matter where you are or what you are guided by, hope you have a very merry Christmas and a new year full of adventure and joy.
    Peace on earth and goodwill towards all creatures great and small.

  14. Rosemary says:

    Number 5. Over and over and over. Of course, this year, my family has decided to drag out Christmas past December 28th. Lucky us. So, taking your list to heart, I will probably be “working” that day. Shuckydarns! Here’s hoping you had a wonderful Christmas with your family, the food was great, and the afterglow sustaining! Thank you for your humor. You’ve helped me through some pretty gray days, and made me laugh until I snorted. Hope 2017 is good to you and yours!

  15. Sound advice as always, my friend. My favorite? Don’t let Halmark ruin it–a life lesson one could apply to life. Happy holidays to you and your family. Counting you among my blessings, Hook. Xo

  16. curvyroads says:

    A belated, but heartfelt, Happy Holidays to you Robert! And sage advice, as always!

  17. tunisiajolyn84 says:

    Great tips for any time we spend with our dysfunctional families. lol Thanks!

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