The holidays are neat, but there was one thing I noticed this season that I never took note of before.

Screaming. Everywhere. Hundreds of children screaming and crying everywhere I went.

If I was at a mall with a Santa Claus, there were children screaming and crying on their knees, children in line screaming and yelling at their parents and children walking by screaming and throwing fits to convince their parents to take them to see Santa.

And they were all so dirty. Coughing into the mouths of other children or picking their noses and eating it. I even watched one kid sneeze into his hand, rub snot on his face, and continued to watch in a train-wreck sort of trance as his mother picked him up and gave him a big kiss.

The parents were no better off. They stared out at the world through weary, vacuous eyes, numb to the screaming and the tears. Some of those mothers, with bags under eyes, food-stained clothing and greasy, unkempt hair, were not that much older than me.

I couldn’t enter a bathroom without having to watch a mother wipe her baby’s dirty little behind. I couldn’t go shopping anywhere without tripping over some little piece of shit throwing a tantrum in the middle of the mall. Kids demanded everything around them with their grubby little fat fists. A simple “No” did not exist in their vocabularies, they just wanted without reason or remorse.

So pretty much that was the end of the holiday season for me. I no longer cared about presents or family, I just cared about never having sex with a man who could fertilize my eggs. I cared only about keeping my uterus and life free from those little monsters.

I heard the words of my father echo in my head when he sat me down for “the talk”: “Nina, some people think kids are all great and cute,” he told me, “but they aren’t. Your life is OVER when you have kids. So don’t be stupid.” I had listened to him then, but only now did I think of his words as gospel.

I’m positive that some people are equipped to handle an unplanned pregnancy successfully and maturely. I am not one of them. I was more equipped when I was 13 than I am now. And I’m pretty sure most people reading this article aren’t prepared for a baby, either. So I think it’s necessary to inspire you to be on top of your birth control and explore every possible preventative measure.

There are few forms of birth control that are 100 percent effective, besides abstinence, of course. But who are we kidding, right?

Condoms can break, pills have a slight margin of error, and pulling out is more like Russian Roulette than anything else. But a combination of even two of these things is marvelous. Obviously, you should definitely be using condoms if you aren’t with a steady partner who has had a thorough STD examination in the last six months. There are various condoms that incorporate the use of pre-applied spermicide, which is pretty great considering you probably won’t see this person ever again outside of awkward eye contact in class. Or you could limit the evening’s festivities to oral sex. If you are with a steady partner and you don’t use condoms, don’t throw caution to the wind. You may like sticking it in her, but do you really want to have the memory of this relationship live on in the form of a child after you find out that she blew your roommate last March when you were out of town?

Preventing pregnancy can be a great doorway to new things in the bedroom. For instance: say you want to try anal but she is a little wary. Just remind her that she can’t get pregnant if you jizz in her butt.

It doesn’t really matter what route you decide to go, as long as you are seriously thinking about prevention before you hop into in the sack. You can get free condoms online, from Planned Parenthood downtown, or shell out a buck or so for a handful at Student Health.

You’ll sleep easier with the knowledge that there isn’t a little demon growing inside you ready to chew on your nipples, barf on your face and spend all of your money. I swear.

Daily Nexus sex columnist Nina Love Anthony encourages all the lesser-equipped gentlemen to try the C-section: Putting it in her belly button.