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I’ve tried to avoid writing holiday themed pieces this year. How many times can Christmas movies, eggnog and office holiday parties be discussed over the course of 30 days? I’m not taking shots at anybody. Last Christmas, I wrote a piece about giving an action figure sized version of myself to my family and friends, so I’ve been just as guilty. This year I’m clearly suffering from holiday fatigue.
It’s probably due to the amount of traveling I do, of which I do plenty. In any given week this year, I was on an airplane two to four times. Sometimes it was six, and a few times it was eight. We’re only days away from the worst travel weekend of all time, so much like the rules for attending a sporting event like an adult, I have a few for traveling during the holidays.
Arrive to the airport AT LEAST two hours before your flight boards.
This even goes for those smart souls who have TSA Pre or Global Entry. Remember, this Friday millions of mouth breathing idiots who travel on a big fancy “aero-plane” once a year are going to schlep their overweight families to the airport and not have a clue as to how anything works. “What do you mean I need ma ID?!” These wastes of space are going to slow down the already incompetent specimens who work at TSA which is going to cause holdups everywhere.
If you don’t have TSA Pre or Global Entry…
May God have mercy on your soul. Seriously, how is this not something you’ve done yet? It’s like $80 and Global Entry lasts your entire life. Do you enjoy taking off your shoes like a kindergartener and carrying your belt and laptop in a bin as if you just got fired in front of a line of 800 equally pissed off and stupid people? Show up three hours early if this is the case.
Most people do their holiday shopping online anyways, but if you’re like me and are traveling home for Christmas you MUST ship your gifts to the location where you’re traveling. I don’t care if you want to see the present or wrap it yourself. Grow up. Address the gifts to yourself and tell your mother, aunt or grandmother to put everything addressed to you aside and wrap them at their house once you arrive. This SEEMS like common sense, but I guarantee you’ll see dozens of oversized stuffed bears and shopping bags filled with wrapped presents on Friday. Feel free to push those people out of the way.
I wish it was socially acceptable to carry a hockey stick in airports and cross check people who are walking too slowly
— JR Hickey (@JRwilldoit) June 27, 2017
Even if you’ve shipped all your presents home for the holidays, you’re still bound to have more clothes/items than usual coming with you this weekend. I get it, it’s cold in 75% of the country and you’re probably staying for a week or so. So check every single bag you have. Every flight is going to be sold out which means overhead bin space is going to run out fast. Save yourself the pain and sweat of trying to sneak three items onto a Southwest flight that only allows for two carry ons, grab your iPad and headphones out of your bag before checking it and stroll to your seat without a care in the world. This is a stressful enough day as it is, don’t make it worse by trying to avoid a $25 checked bag fee. You probably spent $600 minimum on these flights, so what’s an extra 25 bones?
One winter jacket only.
As I said above, you’re more than likely flying to a cold climate. A winter jacket is a must, but more than one winter jacket is just obnoxious. Stuff it into your checked bag as opposed to wearing it on the plane. That extra padding and the increase in temperature are going to piss the people around you off. Remember, everybody is going to be pissed off this weekend. Don’t make it worse by having your “favorite puffy jacket!” in a Nordstrom bag shoved in between people’s suitcases.
Here’s a quick checklist of the cold weather attire you should pack:
One winter jacket
No fucking boots.
I don’t care if your Aunt Mary is hosting Christmas Eve in the Arctic Circle! Get yourself a pair of lined rubber shoes that are a normal size. “But JR, the wet, the rain, the snow!” You look like Ronald McDonald in your stupid galoshes that go up to your knees. These take up WAY too much room and are completely unnecessary. Get yourself some wool socks and a decent pair of Tretorns or mid cut Sorels and you’re Gucci.
Santa hats in the airport are banned.
Headphones for all portable electronic devices.
It’s an inevitability that your children will be traveling with you home for the holidays. I’m not a parent, but from what I’ve observed the go-to move is to hand your child a screen for the duration of the flight. No judgement, I’d probably do the same thing. I’m not going to go off on how kids shouldn’t be allowed on flights or there should be special rules for flying with babies. There should, however, be a rule about children who don’t watch their shows/games without headphones. And by rule I mean “special place in Hell for their parents.” Don’t count on the airline having headphones either. On more than one occasion I’ve flown cross country and they haven’t had any food, so how are we supposed to rely on the most unreliable companies on the planet to have headphones readily available?
No giving up.
Babies cry on planes. The change in pressure hurts their tiny ears and they react the only way they know how. However, I don’t care if you’re tired. I don’t care that getting through security with your stroller was stressful and you packed too much and your husband isn’t being helpful. Do NOT, under any circumstances, just turn to the rest of us and shrug as if to say, “Kids, am I right?” and stare ahead with dead eyes while your child goes nuclear. We don’t deserve that. You brought that thing both into this world and onto this flight. It’s your responsibility.
Everybody around you had a stressful time getting to the airport and through security too. They paid way too much money to get on this plane, and now by sheer bad luck got seated near you and your mistake you made one night while trying to hold your marriage together. Don’t punish them for your sins. If I see a parent making an effort to quiet their kid down, I have little to no qualms with it. Hell, I’ll even help if you ask. When you’re looking the other way I’m pouring Benadryl down its throat, though. What? That’s what Mrs. Hickey did and look how I turned out!
Realize what you’re doing.
Some of you may be taking the big step with your s/o: going home for the holidays! This isn’t about the weight behind that decision – don’t let the title mislead you. Instead, prepare yourselves to be miserable. Remind each other that TSA is going to be a clown show. Expect the airport to be jam packed with hillbilly cousins who don’t know how to walk in straight lines or pack a suitcase. You will most likely be sitting near a crying baby and there won’t be enough room for your bags. Keep reminding each other of these things and most importantly…
Try not to kill each other.
It’s a few hours of your life and the light at the end of this long tunnel is booze, Christmas cookies, presents and good times with the ones you both love. Remember that everybody is miserable as they travel home for the holidays, but this too shall pass. Don’t let the stress of the situation get to you, and more importantly, don’t take it out on each other. You don’t want to start your Christmas weekend on a bad foot.
Merry Christmas and safe travels everyone!.
On a special holiday edition of Don’t Take It From Us, I give Jenna Crowley the greatest Christmas gift anybody could ask for. We discuss dating identical twins, play Bumblebraggin’ and for the back part of the episode we open our Secret Santa gifts with some of your favorite PGP writers! Make sure you follow our Spotify playlist here and leave us a 5-Star Review on iTunes!
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