You know, there are plenty of survival guides out there that teach you how to deal with and avoid the social and economic pitfalls of the holiday season. But what about the real holiday disasters?

Sure, there are there common pitfalls to avoid: awkward gift situations, drunk co-workers at the holiday party, and so on, but nobody seems to want to face the true challenges of the holiday season, which is why I've whipped up this handy dandy guide for you.

Holiday Disaster #1: Wild Animals Eat Your Gifts : Every so often, a lion escapes from the zoo with one mission: to destroy Christmas. Sure, the lion is usually caught by Santa Claus and taught a valuable lesson about love and sharing and the holiday spirit, but the threat remains the same: there are lions out there who want to eat your honey glazed ham and rip your crocheted scarf to shreds. It's typically no use arguing with the lions, because, well, they're lions, but if they happen to make it to your home this holiday, try scaring them off by offering to read Glenn Beck's The Christmas Sweater from start to finish. That's usually enough to send them running.


Holiday Disaster #2: He Didn't Go To Jared: STAY CALM, JEWELRY RECIPIENT. It's not your fault that your significant other has unleashed an Earth-destroying asteroid from space simply by purchasing your "Love's Embrace Always" pendant from another chain jewelry store. The world is ending, but you can still try to salvage the holiday, right? Tell your cousin Chrissie to stop screaming "He didn't go to Jared?! Why!?!" in the corner of the room and give her a fun holiday task to do instead, like decorating the cookies or digging the underground trench you'll need to hide in when the apocalypse hits. Sooner or later, everyone will be so busy preparing for the end times that they'll forget all about your sweetheart's inability to shop at the correct galleria. It's over. Be still. Soon, it won't matter where you get your jewelry, as long as your alien overlords approve.

Holiday Disaster #3: You Accidentally Buy Your Child A Possessed Doll:: It's important to remember that it could happen to anyone. How could you have known that the Happy Henrietta doll you bought little Suzie would come to life, wrangle up a possessed doll army, and threaten to take over the world? Sure, it was weird when you shook the box at Target and Happy Henrietta said, "Kill, killllllll!" instead of "I like to drink cocoa!" like the other dolls did, but you figured you'd be able to erase the creepy recording after getting some mileage out of it with your friends. In fact, you thought you actually had erased the recording, until Christmas morning, when Henrietta pushed her way out of the gift wrap you'd placed her in and started yelling orders to various inanimate objects in your house. But now you're stuck in a candy cane prison guarded by anthropomorphic Pop-Tarts with bad attitudes. Still: great holiday story for next year's party, right?


Holiday Disaster #4: Mrs. Claus Gets A Little Tipsy At Your Holiday Party: You invited her to be polite. It's rude to just ask her husband to come down for the community pancake dinner, right? And even though she was a total bitch to you in high school, you figured you'd just invite her out of common courtesy and to make the children happy. Turns out she had one too many cups of cheer and can't stop yelling "Those friggin' elves!" wherever she goes. She is scaring the children. The reindeer are peeing all over the gingerbread Eiffel Tower you built. Santa is sulking in the corner, drinking whiskey and muttering, "Holiday cheer my ass." Things are not going your way. The only way to get out of this one is to hop in the sleigh yourself and get the hell out of there, yelling, "You can have your livelihood back when you learn to behave yourselves!" That way, you get to scold the Clauses and teach the children an important lesson about not being an asshole on the job.


Holiday Disaster #5: Inappropriate Snowman: You thought you were building a jolly good friend to watch over your lawn all winter. Turns out you built a jackass who likes to yell things like, "Hey! I'd like have a snowball fight with you, if you know what I mean," every time you walk out your front door. And he's always drunk! He smells like freezer burn, Axe, and sadness. He also sold your car to a neighborhood hooligan for 50 cents and a box of corncob pipes. What a creep! You have two options here: Care Bear Stare or calling in the Heatmiser. Of course, you could always knock him down and build a better snowman, but that's not nearly as exciting.

So there you have it. I'm sorry to be the one to inform you of such awful holiday nightmares, but I thought it would be best if you were prepared. Now get out there and have a safe and happy holiday! Or at least try to. After all, we're all screwed if he doesn't go to Jared.