- Get up at 3:30am on the Wednesday before Christmas to catch a flight to the other side of the country. The more time zones you cross the better. If you leave the country, you get extra hangover points. Bonus for each connection and for each hour of the layover at said connection. Flying through the major hubs where you are likely to hit weather that delays your flight or loses your luggage is an A+ strategy (though this one, we did not do).
- Visit a place where you know as many people as you possibly can and organize as many events to see as many of them at once as is possible. Also, whenever there is a meal that you will not be eating at one of these events, make sure you always have someone to meet for said meal.
- Make sure there is as little time as possible between landing at the airport and the first scheduled event. And land at the airport just in time to drive home in rush hour traffic. The more you can stretch out that drive from the airport the better. Oh yeah, and make sure there are as many people as possible in the car that picks you up. In our case, my sister and her two kids. (At least she left the dog at home.) Rush hour in NJ is only slightly better than hell after waking up at 3:30am.
- Cook all day Christmas Eve until people start to arrive.
- Have all of the people over for a smashing Christmas Eve party, where you drink alcohol, get into an argument with at least one relative, stay up until midnight because your dad has some crazy idea that staying up until midnight is a tradition even though your almost thirty and you’ve never done it before, and then have small children in the house that will wake you up at 7am on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought.
- Have two events scheduled for Christmas day that you are really looking forward to, thoroughly enjoy them both and then add in a third one last minute that requires you to dash out of the second one just in time to make it to the third one. Stay entirely too late catching up with long-time friends you haven’t seen in 5 to 10 years.
- Get up early-ish the next day to drive an hour or so away to get on a ferry, to cross a river,
to go to the biggest city that’s the closest to you during the busiest tourist season of the year to be a tourist. After checking into your hotel early, take a nap if you can, or walk around Time Square staring up at the massive buildings that dwarf southwest “architecture”.
- Get dressed up and go to a broadway play, then wander into a random restaurant to eat crappy food because you forgot to get a reservation at the fancy place you wanted to go. Go back to the hotel and change and then go to the Empire State Building. If you want to maximize your hang over, don’t buy VIP tickets online like we did, and stand in the hours of lines to get tickets and ride the elevators. We bypassed this part of the Holiday Hangover Plan for sanity’s sake.
- Wake up early-ish, pack up all of your belongings, check out of the hotel, leave your bags with concierge, and walk to Central Park. Walk around Central Park in the ridiculously warm weather, have some lunch, and then reverse the process to go back to your temporary home – Uber or taxi, ferry, hour drive. Get home in time for dinner with family. At least someone else cooked.
- Wake up very early the next day to deliver your husband as a baby sitter to your niece and nephew and take to the road with your sister for a six hour round trip road trip to a massive yarn store that was seriously so overwhelming you don’t think you ever want to go back. Spend four plus hours wandering around the yarn store trying to figure out what to buy. Yes, it was really that big. Cry when you walk into the warehouse of yarn because you have an unhealthy obsession with wool.
- Get up early the next day to watch Episode IV, V, and VI of the Star Wars saga with your entire nuclear family and a couple extended members thrown in for chaos. Add dinner with cousins at least an hour drive away. Stay too late.
- Take a small breather the next day because everyone is exhausted and while the plan was to go see the new Star Wars movie, don’t go because no one wants to anymore. Instead spend a large portion of the day helping your cousin and sister grout a bathroom and put primer on a closet bedroom that will be your sister’s. Tour a building your father is buying with a designer and a contractor, your dad, your husband, your sister and her two kids, and your cousin. Try not to kill your niece and nephew as they run around the building driving the current tenant of the building batty. Have dinner with six over-tired people and convince your niece to order mussels, eggplant, and shrimp for dinner.
- Plan a New Year’s Eve party that involves lots of cooking again right up until people arrive. Play games that are sure to cause a fight. Lose it because your dad is so competitive he can’t see when he’s being a *&^%%&()$. Accidentally or on purpose, stay up until midnight.
- Spend your last day with your sister and her kids. Be incredibly grateful to your husband for taking the kids on an extra long walk so you could knit peacefully with your sister. Have one last meal with as many family members as possible – your sister and her kids, your brother, grandfather, cousin, and parents.
- It is absolutely necessary that at some point during this trip you realize that you want to abandon any and all plans you and your spouse may have had for the future and move back to the place you swore you’d never move back to. Cry on multiple occassions because everyone is getting too old too fast and your older relatives are living the last years of their lives while you miss them.
- Wake up at 3:00am to catch a plane to go home. Have a long layover. Get home, take a short nap and then decide to go to dinner and a move with your spouse because hey, we didn’t go see the new Star Wars on your trip like you promised. And go to the 8pm because you wont’ make the 6:50pm. Stay up way too late. Wish you could do it all over again.
Hang over complete. How was your holiday?