Princess: The Princess Holiday Survival Guide | AspenTimes.com

Princess: The Princess Holiday Survival Guide

Alison Berkley Margo
Aspen Princess

So it's Christmas week, kitty cats. Fa-la-la-la-la-dee-da.

Every year I write the same column about how I grew up in a household filled with atheist Jews who called themselves agnostic and did nothing in the way of providing me with a cozy and lovely holiday tradition except to just let me celebrate Christmas like everyone else. And because I am a spoiled-rotten, little brat, they did just that, even though it was literally against their religion.

But in true guilt-provoking fashion, they never let me hear the end of it, about how it was all for me and because of me since no one else really cared. They even went so far as to call it "Alimas" and roll their eyes twice as much as usual.

So I won't bore you with the same old story and will stop there. Instead, I'll give you a few little pointers on how to survive the holidays, Princess style.

DO buy yourself something every time you go shopping for someone else. Even though this will put a serious dent in your bank account, it also will make you so happy that you won't care that all your gifts are a size too small (!!!) or unflattering because it's so not because you've been eating chocolate bars with almonds and sea salt every night. You will still get everything you want in the end. You so totally deserve it after the year you've had! It also will put a little pep in your step as you flit around downtown Aspen and will make you look filled with Christmas spirit as you parade through the streets loaded down with shopping bags. Who cares if half of them are for you?

DON'T waste your time slaving over a hot oven baking Christmas cookies when they have perfectly good ones at Whole Foods. I only recently discovered the cookie bar because for one, I try to avoid carbs, and for two, I expected they would be crumbly and stale or have that chemical aftertaste that pre-made baked goods always have. But no. Ladies and gentleman, let me be the first to tell you these cookies are not only beautiful and plentiful in variety, but insanely delicious. Just get in the car and go down there and fill up a pretty tin or a nice little box with these bad boys and you will be the most popular person at the party.

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DO drink more than usual. It will keep you from getting too stressed out and it will make it easier to tolerate people you don't like. My strategy is always to drink on an empty stomach so I can get pleasantly buzzed on one to two drinks and don't need to eat as much. The key is to eat dinner after and then stop drinking so you don't end up on Tinder and/or later heading straight for the gas station to buy pretzels and gummy bears and Red Vines and Sun Chips.

DO buy at least one new outfit so you feel good at holiday parties. Now that I'm a Desperate Housewife of Basalt, I marched into one of those stores at Willits and bought myself a cute gray sweater with "think snow" in silver lettering. It's a far cry from my sequined camisole and skin tight pants with heels days, but it's cute and soft and hides my midsection well. Lo and behold I got a compliment on it, which is totally worth the price tag even though it's synthetic and not cashmere and probably a smidge overpriced. It's true we were forced to leave the party not long after we arrived because our baby had a blowout and smelled like a backed-up sewer (which is never a good thing when fondue is on the menu) so I only got to wear the thing for like an hour. But still.

DON'T take your baby to holiday parties. Hire a babysitter, for god's sake.

DO delete the majority of rapid fire solicitous emails trying to get you buy more stuff. DON'T click on the link because then your Facebook feed will be riddled with all the items you were looking at for yourself, taunting you and making it obvious to your husband that you're not shopping for him at all but looking at $700 puffer jackets like the one from Kate Spade with the bow on the back that is so super cute but you can no longer afford because you have a child to think about now! You can't just go blowing money on extravagant things for yourself, even though you would probably wear it a ton and have it for years and years and the cost-per-use would make it totally worth it and like your own mother always said, "You get what you pay for." But you're not going there. Right? Right!

DO include your dog in the festivities by indulging them with treats and then dressing them up in either a Santa hat, an ugly sweater, or a bandana tied around their neck so they can get into the spirit. Make sure they have their own stocking and wrap all their gifts. Dogs are people too, and they need to feel included, especially if you have a baby who has dominated all of your time and attention to the point where you have forgotten the pug and left her tied up outside of Mezzaluna and the waitress had to come running after you, dejected purebred in tow, screaming, "You forgot your dog!" at the top of her lungs so everyone could hear.

DO spend time with the people you love, and for Christ's sake (since it is his birthday, after all) express some gratitude. You're in Aspen. What could possibly be a better gift than that?

The Princess accepts cash if you don't feel like buying her something. Email alisonmargo@gmail.com for her Pay Pal information.

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