Adults look wiser because they've already made so many mistakes. They've walked down the wrong, dark street, smashed a dish at someone else's house, and brought bacon to a Passover potluck. They've stayed out late too many nights in a row and finished off the vodka (and Santa's cookies). They've said "yes"when they knew they should have said "no," yet lived to tell the tale.
Until you've piled up those experiences, here's a list of things you can do to act like an adult this holiday season.
1. Put on a good face — even when things stink.
Grown-ups often act as though things are okay, if only to escape what's plaguing them. Research has shown that if you're feeling flustered — it's the holidays! — even a forced smile can lead you to feeling more relaxed and happier. Try it next time your shoulders feel like granite.
2. Learn how to throw together a few good dishes.
I'm not saying you need to channel Julia Child, but being an adult means you can make at least one thing to share during the holidays.
3. Do something nice — just because.
Donate to a charity, take a plate of food to someone who's hurting, or just drop a dollar or 10 in a street musician's box.
4. Don't get drunk at your holiday office party.
Just don't do it. Regret can cause many a sleepless night.
5. Take the high road with your family.
Treat your in-laws well. And your siblings. Those clenched teeth could pay off down the road.
6. Stock your pantry for unexpected visitors.
Santa just might show up, so keep something on hand for him and his crew. Also, for those friends and family who just can't go home.
7. Say "no" and mean it.
You don't have to attend every holiday party you're invited to. It's great to feel wanted, but sometime during the season you're going to need to curl up and watch Netflix. Go ahead. Adults listen to their bodies.
8. Don't reach for another cookie.
I'm not saying deny yourself — just don't eat all the holiday cookies.
9. Send thank you notes.
Thank you notes foster connection. More points for you for using pretty stationery.
10. Dance with abandon every chance you get.
Even grown-ups need to shake it up and let loose. Turn up the music and dance!