5 tongue-in-cheek ways for the overworked nurse to get a head start on the holidays


iStock | DawnPoland
iStock | DawnPoland

Every year it’s the same routine: Cook too many turkeys, mash too many potatoes, shop for too many presents and haul a tree home so it can shed needles all over your floor. This year, nurses, I have some suggestions to help de-stress your holidays.

1. If you celebrate Christmas, get everybody the same present. It can be socks or a package of pens (actually a GREAT gift for all of your coworkers!) or the same sweater. Just be sure that all the recipients aren’t in the same room when they open their gifts. Invent a minor emergency, like a small grease fire, if you must.

2. Ditch the Christmas tree for something more manageable and recyclable. A Christmas pineapple can double as a centerpiece for your table. Zucchinis can be tastefully arranged in the break room as a cornucopia for Thanksgiving, then repurposed as green, ovoid Santa Claus figurines with a little construction paper and a few cotton balls. If all else fails, decorate the dog.

3. Too busy working 12-hour shifts to shop? Think outside the box when it comes to presents. If you have toddlers on your gift list, be aware that anything can be a toy to them. A box of old machine parts is educational and fun. Rather than a gift basket of fruit (it needs pesky wrapping and ribboning), give a single jackfruit or watermelon. If your tastes run that way, wrap it in lights attached to a battery pack.

4. Combine your holidays into Thankkukah or Chrisnewyear. Most holiday meals are the same anyhow; save yourself some trouble by only making one. Or, if you’re feeling really overwhelmed, start a family tradition of sandwiches as your main holiday meal (this works particularly well if you’re already scheduled to work over the holidays)!

5. Leave town entirely for the season. Don’t tell anyone where you’re going. Tell work it’s a family emergency and fill out FMLA paperwork. Return in mid-February, when things have died down and Valentine’s chocolate is on sale.

Agatha Lellis
Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at

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