E ARE striving for perfection here, ladies, not balance. Remember, "stress" is one of the 21 Happy Woman words for "joyous holiday" and is therefore to be sought, not avoided! Please review our glossary for other useful synonyms, among them "guilt," "exhaustion," and "acid reflux."
Always remember: At holiday time, coffee is your best friend. Also make it your basic nutrient for December: Coffee drinks, coffee candy, coffee covered coffee beans. You know the bit about "sugar plums dancing in their heads"? You will have them dancing all over the house if you're doing coffee correctly. Think of them as your little encouraging spirits, offering up such holiday preparation nuggets as, "Hurry, hurry!" and "What are you sitting down for when there are cookies to be cut and lights to be hung and popcorn garlands to be strung and wreaths to be woven and trees to be baked and presents to be frosted and bells to be hollied and holly to be bollied . . . !!!"
Once properly jacked up, feel free to follow our pre-tested pathways to flawlessness. Each comes complete with its own Perfection Score as calibrated by our infallible Happy Woman Holiday Perfect-o-meter. Remember: a score of 100 means you can sit down!!
INVITING YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW TO STAY FOR THE HOLIDAYS: 50 points
Seeing that you could be halfway to angelhood just by doing this one teensy thing, points will be docked as follows for these perfection-hostile chinks in your overall performance:
2 points for not picking Mother up at the station yourself
1 point for every night you neglect to turn down Mother's bed
1 point for every meal that is not Mother's favorite
3 points for every time you allow ungenerous thoughts about Mother to slip into your conscious mind
5 points for every time you lunge at Mother with a kitchen knife
40 points for stuffing Mother in the basement where no one will ever find her
-25 points for wearing Mother's clothes and lunging at other people with a kitchen knife (Try not to get in the red, ladies, times a-wasting!)
INVITING YOUR BOSS AND ALL YOUR COWORKERS OVER FOR A HOLIDAY PARTY: 12 points
Twelve may not seem like much, but you get bonus points for each of the following easy-as-pie add-ons!
5 points for sparing no expense
6 points for complimenting each of the female coworkers you know are really flirty tramps
7 points for not spiking drinks with anything really dangerous, just fun
10 points for slipping food downstairs to Mother, although she doesn't appear to have much of an appetite lately
For heaven's sake, that's a potential 40 points! You're almost there!!
Now successfully complete only two of the following five-pointers, and you've reached Perfection!
Design, build, and install a religion-neutral holiday display on the grounds of your local city hall. Breaking any city ordinances is a no-no!
Raise enough holiday donations to put all of your local charities to shame, thus drawing the attention of the national media. You must appear on CNN in order to collect all five points!
Compose, record, and release a festive tune in time for the holiday shopping season. Oops, too late!
Produce or witness a holiday miracle that draws the attention of the international press. You must appear at the Vatican with the Pope no later than December 25th to collect all five points! Miracles can include but are not limited to: spotting a sainted figure in any form of bread, such as St. Christopher in your Roman Meal; raising the dead, not that there's anyone in your basement who would qualify; or knotting any piece of fine cutlery with your mind. Just bending cutlery is for rookies!
© 2008 Kate Heidel