Oh, the holidays.

While November and December tend to spark thoughts of home, hearth, and sugarplum fairies, the reality is oftentimes more “Griswold” than “Rockwell.” In fact, the holiday season (as it’s so innocuously known) is very frequently a white-knuckle ride through jam-packed mall parking lots and a veritable minefield of mishaps, mistakes, and miscommunications.

At Esurance, we can’t help you out when your brother-in-law invites his football buddies to Thanksgiving dinner (last minute!) or when Great Aunt Mary recruits you for her annual Christmas pageant. But we can offer you some good old-fashioned practical advice for surviving some of accompanying madness of the holidays.

So without further ado, we give you the ultimate holiday survival guide.

Steer clear of Rudolph and all other deer

Did you know that November, in addition to marking the start of the holidays, is also deer mating season? Probably not, because who really thinks that much about the mating habits of deer, right? But when those fuzzy woodland creatures are active, it could spell danger on the road. So with that in mind, here are a few pointers on avoiding accidents with deer.

Surviving Thanksgiving

Deer are not the only thing to be on the lookout for in November. From cooking fires (deep-fried turkey, anyone?) to transporting pumpkin pies and other sweet valuables (like the kids), Thanksgiving weekend can offer up any number of things to be less than thankful for.  Whether you’re traveling or hosting, we can help you prepare for whatever cranberry craziness comes your way. Read more.

Surviving Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Great! You managed to make it through Turkey Day with its tryptophan and travel challenges. But now you find yourself facing down the biggest shopping day of the year. Sure, no one really likes hanging out in mall parking lots at 3 a.m., but those presents aren’t going to buy themselves. Well, skeptical shopper, you’re in luck. Check out the history of Black Friday, and see what you can do to avoid it.

Shopping for a Christmas tree

If you braved Black Friday (or sipped hot cocoa and clicked your way through Cyber Monday), then congrats. But now you need a place to put all those presents. And nothing says holidays like a crisp-smelling Christmas tree. Whether you prefer picking it from a lot to chopping it in the woods, Douglas Fir to Scotch Pine, or flocked to au natural, here are a few tips for bringing that baby home. How to transport a Christmas tree.

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How to winterize your home

Your tree is trimmed and you’ve invited the whole family over for some eggnog and white elephant gifts. But guess who shows up unannounced: that wily Ol’ Man Winter. With another polar vortex expected this year, it pays to be prepared for all the ways winter weather can wreak havoc on your home. Before the holidays hit, here are the top 6 reasons to winterize your home.

How to winterize your car

Your home is now ready for winter. But before you let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, you’d be wise to get your car geared up for the months ahead as well. Your tires, oil, and even your paint can all take a hit from colder temperatures. Check out our handy infographic on how to winterize your car.

Top winter driving tips

No matter how prepared you (or your car) might be for bad weather, occasionally you still have to go out in conditions that would make even Scrooge think twice. Especially when those mashed potatoes and gravy are calling. Whether you’re facing down a blizzard in Babbitt, Minnesota, or waiting out a rainstorm in South Ogeechee, Georgia, use these winter driving tips to stay safe (and hopefully warm and dry) this holiday season.

11 must-haves for your winter car kit

Hopefully you make it over the river and through the woods without event. But if your hometown’s familiar with extreme winter weather, you know how important it is to be prepared. While nothing beats a cozy cardigan, replete with jolly snowmen and frolicking reindeer, having a winter car kit can come pretty darn close if you ever find yourself stranded between the middle of nowhere and the boondocks on a frigid December night. Here are the top 11 winter must-haves for your car.

Finding your way to the lights

Whew! Weary traveler, you made it this far and now all that’s left is to baste the turkey and await the arrival of Jolly Ol’ St. Nick. And maybe … just maybe, pile the family into the fully winterized minivan, leave your fully winterized house safe and sound, and go out in search of the most spectacular lights in town. Wouldn’t you know, we can help with that too. Check out this post on 6 of America’s most spectacular holiday displays.

Happy Holidays, everyone. Stay safe and enjoy!

DIY hacks | Safe and smart

about Heidi

Heidi brings 11 years’ experience to her role as Esurance’s copywriting manager. Writer, editor, and all around wordsy, she was content when content wasn’t cool. Also, she likes old-school country.