Food Fight, Holiday Style


Coming from a large and mixed family with its share of egos, hotheads, and show-offs (we all have ’em!)… I feel that over time I have become an unofficial expert on how to handle the chaos and stress that can ensue during the holidays.

Your family is your blood and typically you love them unconditionally, no matter what that gossipy aunt or spoiled cousin said at the last big holiday get-together. However, once people start having some eggnog and discussing politics or how their kid’s college choice is the best… you will reach a limit of how annoyed, frustrated, stressed, or freaked out you can be.

You are human. People’s bullsh*t will get to you – family or not family.
Here are some tasty tips to help keep your cool during the most crazy and spirited time of year.

Nothing can be more stressful than putting together your holiday meal or party last minute. Unless you are Chef Robert Irvine, I would not suggest this. Do your research, make lists, get organized. If you’re having a lot of people over, think about what the majority of people would enjoy to eat as well as anyone specific who has dietary restrictions, is a picky eater, etc.
Also always have a Plan B, C, and heck a Plan D if necessary. What if the turkey burns…the milk spoils…everyone decides to go gluten-free for Christmas! The last one may be a bit extreme but having multiple options can be a holiday lifesaver.

Need suggestions? Tweet me @ShararehDrury or discuss on Facebook – we’re in this struggle together!

wineglass-creativecommonsWINE AWAY
There could be plenty of whining or complaining when the fam gets together. Take up a good glass, red or white,  and just focus on that. Let your blood vessels as well as your mood relax. Compared to hard alcohol or spirits, wine is the healthier of the choices and one glass is good enough to do the trick. Don’t  overdo it and become an embarrassing drunk of the party! If there’s anyone this holiday season who has been adding more stress to your life, get a glass together and forgive and forget!

So you’ve been asked for the hundredth time when you’re having children or getting a job and the red level is rising. Get something you can mash away at – pounding steaks, beating eggs. Start with your intensity and let that action release stress, then slow it down to relax with the motions. You could even put on some headphones and jam out while you do this to get away from the chatter for a few minutes.


Banana Bread Muffins

Who doesn’t love a good cookie or cake? If that’s you reading this, get outta here! Seriously though, get some people together to bake holiday treats. Smooth things as you all fold, stir, whisk, and knead. Work together to make something sweet instead of turning the festivities sour.

About ready to pop someone bang, zoom, straight to the moon! Grab a bag of popcorn, toss it in the microwave or in a skillet, and just sit and watch the show. With each kernel that pops, let a bit of your frustration or anger pop away too. Later on if someone comes over to blab or bother, pop some popcorn in your mouth and chew away…let the tasty crunches push out any voices or noise. Ahh, salty solitude.


My doggie, Blitzen!

If people overall are just becoming too much, go hang with some furry friends. Your pets deserve love too during the holidays. Hanging out with them for a bit can be a great way to calm down. Grab a snack mix or freshly baked cookie and take a walk around the neighborhood with your pet pal. If you can only stay inside, hang out with your pet on the patio or a room aside from everyone. Animals are incredible stress relievers so utilize one if you’ve got the chance, and see why all of are worthy of being man and woman’s best friend!

Spending money and the holidays go hand in hand. However, you don’t have to wake up January 1st and freak out over debt from all the food and drink that was consumed. Look for store coupons and deals for what you want to serve. Check out farmers’ markets for  veggies, fruits, and meats that are fresh and affordable. Another way to save money for the holiday meal is having a potluck! Everyone can bring their dish of choice – thus making the cost of the meal go down and ensuring everyone will have something they want to eat.

Turn on some soothing Christmas jazz or Enya, whatever works for you. Whether you’re cooking in the kitchen or mingling and snacking, chill music will ease the tension. If it isn’t your party and the music is not doing you any good, find a quiet space to collect your thoughts, breathe, and center.  A few deep breathes and positive thoughts are simple tricks to finding peace on Earth.

The holidays are not just about gifts and parties and who had the cutest ugly sweater. Like the Grinch realized, Christmas “means a little bit more!”
It can be a chaotic, crazed time for sure but it also brings all the people you love and are blessed with together. Even if the only way you can connect is a webcam or camera phone, be sure to talk and see those close to you. Cherish the precious moments you have during the holidays and really all year round. You may not be chummy with every single person in the family, but they’re family. Love ’em or hate ’em, you’re stuck with ’em.

As Bob Hope said, “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”

Let’s Dish:

  • Feeling anxious or excited about the holidays?
  • What are you doing over the holidays? Family time, friends, or kickin’ it alone?
  • Tips to keep it cool during holiday stress?
  • Anyone specific in your fam that drives you nuts – holidays or not?
  • Best and Worst Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus memory?


Sharareh Drury is an award-winning journalist in Chicago. She's a foodie and traveller, loves to tell stories, and is always hungry for adventure and a flavorful dish to go with it.

1 Comment Write a comment

  1. BAH HA HA HA! Everyone decided to go Gluten-Free in your family, now didn’t they!? Blizten is effin’ ADORABLE and he must really love this time of the year considering he is named after one of the reindeers!


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