A photo of a Christmas tree with presents underneath. Some people find that the many holiday traditions had more stress than they should. JIAQIAN AIRPLANEFAN/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS VIA CC BY 3.0

Let’s be honest. I have stopped caring about school, and all of my stress is focused on all the holiday traditions I have to deal with. I need to get gifts for “Secret Santas” and “Mystery Maccabees” and “Holiday Harrys.” Two weeks from now, I will be in enough Hanukkah pictures to fill a chromebook. For the next month, non-stop holiday music will urge me toward insanity.

It’s not all bad. I enjoy holidays. But we need to set some ground rules to keep these holidays fun and not turn them into a month of social landmines. Let’s keep the holidays the way they should be: days of gift-giving, too much eating and no cares of school.

Let’s start with the gift exchanges. Write out a wish list. My brothers and I have a whole process to decide what gifts to get our parents. I spend months researching what to get for my friends’ birthdays. Now you’re telling me I have one week and a 20 dollar limit to get a gift for someone I have spoken to three times in my life? There is no way I will have any clue what to get you unless you tell me what you want. At least write a theme or something. I include gifts that are above the price limit so that people can see what kind of gifts I like. This way, if they don’t like what’s on my wishlist, they can buy something similar.

Pictures are like jokes. Repeating jokes is the worst. If you have not heard the punchline after I have repeated it two times, I assume that it’s Divine Providence. I am not taking the same picture three times. I don’t care if you blinked. I don’t care about your good side. Take as many candids as you want. But if I need to specifically pay attention, make sure I am in focus and everything is framed properly. I want to get back to staring at my phone and eating latkes.

Every time I turn on the radio, a cacophony of Christmas chorals invades my eardrums. As you can see, I am already filled with holiday cheer. I don’t need any more of this outside of my car. Play any music. Play country. Play rap. Play Irish funk. Anything.

Do not invite me to watch a Christmas movie that isn’t “Home Alone” or “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” “March of the Wooden Soldiers” (aka “Babes in Toyland”) was created to be watched on Thanksgiving. Do not invite me to watch a Hanukkah movie that isn’t “A Rugrats Chanukah.” All other holiday movies are a waste of my time.

Don’t get me wrong, the holiday season is awesome. I get eight days of gifts and spend each night with another group of friends or another side of my family. I get to cuddle underneath my blanket with hot cocoa and whipped cream after (please don’t screw me, global warming) playing in the snow with my siblings. I get to stare at the candles lit across my community. I’m sure sitting around the Christmas tree and seeing all the Christmas decorations filled others with a genuine holiday warmth.

Let’s make this holiday season a wonderful time. This year and this semester have been a stress factory. The holidays and year’s end should be a reprieve. They should be a time when we appreciate each other’s company, when we spend quality time together. We shouldn’t spend the whole time worried about making it perfect. It will be perfect by virtue of our company. Let’s get through this and celebrate together.