Are you exhausted from trying to schedule your family gatherings? Do you often regret planning events that only your least favorite family members attend? Studies show you’re not alone. Gallo Research Institute estimates up to 130% of families experience deep distress around the holidays, mostly due to scheduling snafus.
Thanks to a new app ToodleDoodle that is partnering with scheduling app Doodle and task management app Toodledo, families can now seamlessly plan their holiday gatherings. Family members can not only enter their available times, but ToodleDoodle uses advanced algorithms that allow the organizers to choose gathering times based on the availability of family members weighted by their importance. That way, families with the most cute grandkids get top priority, and single family members over age 25 with bad cooking skills will not skew the scheduling toward undesirables.
Look out for the 2020 version, ToodleDoodlenmo. This app will synchronize with your Venmo account so that family members can enter how much they were planning to spend on each other. The app will then just redistribute the money accordingly. For example, if Uncle Joe was going to buy you a $20 gift, you were going to buy Aunt Diane a $10 gift, and Aunt Diane was going to buy both of you a $5 gift, then Aunt Diane pays $0, you pay $0, and Uncle Joe gives you $5 and Aunt Diane $10. We think? That’s what the advanced algorithms are for! The point is, pesky gift shopping will be a thing of the past.
Local couple Rebecca and Max have both always loved the holidays, but this year is more special than ever. Over Thanksgiving and the Christmas season, the couple has encountered dozens of extended family members hinting darkly about nuptials.
“It’s exhilarating to be grilled about the future of your relationship in front of your entire family and significant other while you’re trying to relax,” Rebecca gushed. She explained that dating years are like dog years. Having been with Max for longer than 6 months, they are seen as life partners.
“Rebecca usually flies through the men so fast, her relationship with Max has whipped us all into a frenzy,” Rebecca’s Aunt Jean explained. “Not only did we see Max at Easter, he’s still here at Thanksgiving. It’s cute how they seem to have a Kurt Russell-Goldie Hawn thing going on.”
Max mentioned he enjoys reminders about the length of his and Rebecca’s relationship paired with expert advice on how quickly to progress the relationship. “I honestly didn’t know how long Rebecca and I had been dating, until my cousin reminded me. It was such a blessing to hear what the appropriate stage of commitment Rebecca and I should be at right now.”
Rebecca especially enjoys the educational conferences from family members and friends about her biological limitations. “I have a PhD in neuroscience, but I guess we never covered human reproduction in relation to aging. Who knew I had such little time left!” Rebecca marveled.
Max and Rebecca both confirmed neither of them had even considered the future of their relationship before their familyies brought up so many good points. “I never really thought of Rebecca as wife material,” Max explained. “But after all these these distant family members told me where our relationship should be, I guess I’m headed to the ring shop.” Rebecca chimed in “That is so incredibly romantic, babe! We can’t waste these eggs, now can we?”
What’s Rebecca’s and Max’s Christmas wish? “That all dating couples had families and friends that were so helpful and informative as ours!”
When I was younger, the entire season of Christmas was full of twinkly magic. Seriously, I remember feeling this warmth and lightness in my heart for at least a week or two before Christmas. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but when I reached a certain age- probably 16 or 17- I remember being aghast that the warm fuzzies were no longer with me.
Now, I’m sad to admit, I can understand why some people hate the holidays. I don’t even have to deal with a horrible family dynamic or extensive travel, but I still get stressed out by the shopping, coordinating of diva schedules, etc.
But, it seems practically insane to be irritated by what is essentially a feast with the people that I love the most.
So what’s the prob, Bob?
Tonight I was watching this Amazon Prime documentary The Science of Fasting. Yep, this is how I spend my evenings these days. It was a little bit too big-Pharma-conspiracy-theorist for my taste, but it did have some pretty compelling evidence that fasting can be healing and restorative. Anyway, it made me think about how fasting was a given in the Biblical times. And that made me think about how feasting was not simply tolerated in the Old Testament law, but required! So that makes me think that both fasting and feasting are spiritually healthy.
And THAT made me think about something I read in this book Sacred Rhythms. It was actually talking about Sabbath, and how important it was to have rhythms in your life of work and rest. Truth! 🙌 It’s both mentally and physically straining to work constantly, but for me resting when I have nothing to rest from is actually the most straining of all. They’re best when they go together- work can be a delicious challenge if I’m coming from happy rest, and rest is sweet when I’ve had a productive work week.
So, bringing this wild thought train back to feasting, fasting, and the holiday blues…
I think at least one reason why the holidays, Christmas especially, don’t seem special anymore is because they’re not special anymore. We are surrounded by, or 3 min and $3 away from, large quantities of palpable food pretty much all the time, and we already immediately buy anything and everything that we want.
We’ve made Christmas into a Santa-themed continuation of our already feast-y lifestyles .
I realize this is probably coming out pretty dour, but I don’t mean it to be. This is more of a reflection on how my year-long indulgences can ultimately be joy-zapping. I wasn’t made to indulge. I was made to work, sacrifice, give, etc.
So…. Me thinks I need to take this rhythms/seasons ideer more seriously, oui? Maybe if I had the Christmas spirit of sacrificial giving year around, the Christmas feasts would fit perfectly into that rhythm. TBD if the twinkle magic will also return. A gal can dream! 😴🌠😍
Feliz Navidad! 🎅
— EDITORIAL NOTES —
Please note that I recognize that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. I hope that this post did not make anyone think otherwise. But whether or not you are a Christian, Christmas traditionally also involves a celebratory feast. And it is the lack of joy in that feast that got me thinking about feasts generally and their purpose and why I and many others can be total jerks about what are supposed to be joyous events! Thank you for your understanding, and God bless America.
The holidays are supposed to be a holly-jolly time with loved ones, but they can also be a hairy-scary time with pinterest as you frantically try to whip up some rum-spiked eggnog cake with peppermint frosting.
Galloswag is here to declare: Don’t let your ability to make merry be sabotaged by the culinary pressures of the holiday season! I have a few tricks up my sleeve that are guaranteed to release you completely from all of the stress, fatigue, time, money, and emotional breakdowns that inevitably occur during holiday food preparations.
What’s the secret? Well, just between you and me…
The secret is to get all your friends and family to stop asking you to bring food to any holiday gatherings.
Sounds to good to be true?? Read and learn, my friends — read and learn!!! These are tried-and-true methods that either I or my family members have empirically tested and proven to be successful.
·Make your dishes memorably terrible
oYou can’t half-ass this, folks. I’m not talking about rolling up to Christmas dinner with an underwhelming pot of green beans. The key here is to make a strong, negative impression on all the guests. One of my personal favorites is leave out whichever ingredients make the dish good. For example – mom asks me to make some homemade hot cocoa? Sure thing, but I’ll leave out the sugar. My aunt needs me to whip up a batch of mashed potatoes? Gladly, but those taters will arrive sans buerre.
oA second technique that is a nuanced yet sophisticated variation of the “leave out the gooduns” described above was perfected by my brother. He doesn’t just leave out what’s good, he leaves out what makes the dish the dish. Yep — leave pumpkin out of the pumpkin pie and chuckle to yourself as your family reels in shock.
oThird, simply omit important steps of the recipe process. All the ingredients are there, but you masterfully manage to still ruin the texture somehow. A simple example of this is to not drain pasta before mixing in the sauce. Turn that mac ‘n cheese into a watery soup with floating pieces of pasta and just a subtle hint of velveeta. They will be incensed!
oIf passive omission isn’t quite your style, you can always aggressively substitute ingredients until the entire dish is unrecognizable. Trade that butter for apple sauce, sugar for molasses, pasta for potatoes, cilantro for parsley, and pretty soon you will have a disastrous cacophony of flavors that is sure to distress the most appeasable of palates.
·Insist on making the main dish, but then show up 3 hours late.
oThis is advanced technique that can only work if you are a central figure in the family. If you are the rando fiancé of the weird cousin that lives far away, this is too bold for you. If you have a mind for long-term strategy, the key is to spend the other 364 days of the year tricking your family into believing you are dependable enough to carry the weight of the main dish. Then, take that trust and crush it under your heel as the bellies of your family members ache with hunger.
·… I wish I had 3 points, but I don’t. This is a cotton-pickin’ blog, not Southern Living! Gah!
Alright, I’ve given you the tools — it’s up to you to use them skillfully. Work on one or two of these techniques now so you’ll never have to work another holiday again!