Illustrated by John Lisle.
Photographed by Christine Hahn.
Express delivery from the North Pole… oh, wait! Did that package just get rerouted through New Orleans? As we count down to the holiday weekend, we'll have a cosmic curveball to contend with. This Monday, December 19, Mercury turns retrograde, crossing wires, scrambling schedules and creating a few communication blips until January 8. Heed the planetary PSA: If you're traveling for your celebrations, order your Uber an hour earlier — or pre-reserve a car service to make sure your ride to the airport is locked and loaded. Mercury's backspin takes place in Capricorn, the sign that rules traditions, career goals and yes, the patriarchy. On Thursday, the sun begins its month-long journey through Capricorn, helping to offset some of the deleterious effects of the retrograde. But still…we may weather more than the usual amount of mansplaining this holiday season. And if family dynamics are ultra-fiery, this might be the year to take off for the tropics instead of flying back home to see your folks. Mercury's backspin can reveal buried information — which might actually be a positive, given that the electoral college will cast their final vote on December 19. Who knows what will emerge about the cabal of cabinet appointees? Here's hoping messenger Mercury can put a kibosh on the post-truth gaslighting that's been going down.

Take heart: The planets are on good behavior over the weekend, helping to mitigate tension — at least momentarily. On Saturday, traditionalist Saturn flows into a cooperative angle with forward-thinking Uranus. Conservatives and liberals could find common ground during celebrations, setting aside differences for the weekend. Do you roll with a diverse group of friends? The Saturn-Uranus trine calls for a blending of customs, especially since Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all arrive in close proximity in 2016. Drumming and eating latkes under the tree — why not? On Sunday, a naughty-and-nice alignment of Venus and Jupiter will love-bomb our celebrations. Keep the mistletoe in plain sight. This heart-opening alignment will make Cupid and Vixen the starring reindeer of the weekend. Pucker up!