The holidays can be a stressful time of year. So many things to accomplish, so many people to see, so many presents to buy; and so little time to do it! It’s crazy that we do all this because some little dude was born in a barn a million years ago, but tradition is tradition after all. I’m here to give you tips and tricks that will make you the star of the party.
Dress the part.
Nothing you do matters unless you do it looking nice, which is something that homeless people will never understand. If you walk into your grandma’s house wearing some poverty sweater you found at Target or Meijer or some other trash store, your family is going to talk tons of shit behind your back; and quite frankly, you’d deserve it. They might even kick you out of the party; I don’t know how ruthless your family is. Neither of us want that to happen, so listen up.
As a rule of thumb, always dress as if you’re going on a date with Brad Pitt; this goes for both men and women. And guys, before you say anything, don’t act like you’d turn down dinner with Brad Pitt. Don’t lie to yourself like that. Brad Pitt expects pomp and class from his dates. No t-shirts, no slippers, and for God’s sake, no cargo pants. In fact, I’ve created a helpful list of people that are allowed to wear cargo pants without looking stupid:
1. Actual soldiers in the military
That’s it. Those are the only people. Have some respect for yourself, and some respect for Jesus.
Pro Tip: Go to the mall about a week before Christmas. Walk into the classiest clothing store you can find and browse the shelves. Then, all you have to do is wait for some schmuck to spend a ton of money on a nice shirt, follow him out of the store, and bump into him hard enough that he drops his bag; then, take the shirt. Some people might consider this “stealing,” but I saw Matt Damon do pretty much the exact same thing in Ocean’s Eleven, so that can’t be true. Matt Damon’s never stolen a thing in his life, except the hearts of his audience.
Know a bit about fine food and drink.
The key to any holiday party; or any dinner gathering, for that matter; is making everyone else think you’re smarter than you actually are. Chances are, your family thinks you’re an idiot, and they’re probably right. That’s why you’re reading this article, isn’t it? It’s your job to change their mind. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but my personal favorite is to demonstrate that you know a lot more about fancy food and drink than everyone else there. Nothing is more intimidating than someone who is clearly smarter than you. Here are some things you can do to class yourself up.
- Tell anyone that will listen about the season finale of Top Chef, and about how the contestants weren’t “adventurous enough” in the kitchen. Say you could’ve done better. Say this multiple times.
- Talk about how you’ve spent the past year “refining your palette.”
- Buy a cheap bottle of wine from the supermarket, put a super expensive sticker on it, and talk about the various aromas that you experience while you swirl it around the glass.
- Insist on bringing and using your own glass; give a small chuckle when the host offers you one of their glasses. Say, “that simply won’t do. Not for this vintage.”
- Use words like “full-bodied” and “astringent” to describe the wine.
- Comment on the presentation of the food. Call it “sublime.”
- Google a list of spices and ask people if they put them in a dish (i.e. “Aunt Pam, do I taste a hint of saffron in your turkey this year?”).
- Talk about the reduction that the turkey was basted in. Say that it is “divine.”
Remember: nobody really knows what they’re talking about when it comes to fancy wines and expensive food. When in doubt, keep it simple. Lie. Like everything in life, it’s not a lie if they don’t find out.
Pro Tip: Buy a turkey from somewhere like Boston Market or some place that cooks those kinds of things. If you really want to get regal with it, buy a dish that is a bit more exotic; think pheasant or quail. Then, watch a YouTube video of how to make it look decorative; put parsley on the side, whatever; and tell everyone you made it at home. When people say that you shouldn’t have gone through the effort, insist it was nothing. Boom. Party star.
Buy better presents than everyone else.
On Christmas Day, don’t be afraid to resort to trickery and/or mischief. Are you having a White Elephant or Secret Santa exchange? Insist on a small price ceiling for gifts, i.e. $20. After doing so, spend at least double that on yours. This will ensure that your gift will be the best; and if it isn’t the best, at least you can subtly brag that it was the most expensive. The key is to sound bashful, like you’re almost embarrassed that you spent above the limit. Say things like “I felt bad spending that much, but I knew how much he/she would like it.” This is a foolproof way to impress your family. Oh, say you were “overcome with the spirit of giving.” People eat that shit up.
Pro Tip: Use the term “cute” to describe other people’s gifts. A well-placed “Oh, that’s cute” goes a long way in undermining a gift’s sentimental value, which in turn increases your gift’s value in comparison. Also, congratulate people on a “good effort.” This implies that while they tried their best, they kind of shit the bed with the gift. Make sure nobody says this to you. It’s fucking devastating.
In closing, have fun this holiday season. Give some presents, see some family, burn down a pine tree, whatever you want to do. And make sure to shower me in gift cards/cold hard cash.
Oh, and if you need some ideas on how to spruce up that party you’re thinking about having, refer to this handy dandy list for a few helpful hints: