10 Ways to Avoid Family Drama this Holiday Season
The streets are crowded. The air has turned cold. Your bank account is near empty. Whelp, Happy Holidays!
For many of us, this is the least happy season of all. It means your Granny is in town, with her passive comments about how you FINALLY got your weight under control.
It means your perfect sibling, with their perfect job and perfect family, is here to remind you what a bum you are…
Ding-dong, it’s your Trump-loving Dad at the door!
The holidays are here, and here is how you survive!!
10. There’s so much room for activities.
The best way to keep the peace is to keep moving. Set expectations. Make an itinerary. Plan family fun, and plan A LOT of it. Your mom has a lot less time to comment on your new hair color if she’s too busy having fun. Throw axes in Wallingford at Blue Ox Axe Throwing. Grab pizza down in New Haven. Take the family for beers down at THC in Derby. Take a winter Hike near Gillette Castle. Make your activities endless, not the family drama.
9. Keep it LIT.
Play up your holiday spirit. Hosting? Make Christmas basically throw-up in your living room. It’s harder to fight when you’re blinded by 1000 twinkle lights. Attending instead? Be a walking talking Christmas elf. It’s a lot harder for Nana to talk about that nice girl from her church she wants you to meet when you’re playing the part of Buddy the Elf.
Buddy the elf…
What’s your favorite color?
8. Bring a Buffer (or a Fluffer)
Invite NON-family members. Truly. Nothing makes your mom behave like having “company” over. Bring your cool boss. Invite that fun co-worker. Invite the nice guy from your kickball team. Tell your best friend to “stop by”. Beg them to come early, and stay late! No one helps you avoid “so when am I having grandchildren” like your closest confidants.
7. Make nice with the Teacher’s Pet.
Touch base with the favorite sibling. Let’s be honest, there IS a reason they’re the favorite. AND NO, it’s not because they’re perfect (despite what your mom thinks…)- they’re the favorite because THEY KNOW HOW TO HANDLE YOUR FAMILY. Reach out before the holidays, and let them know you’re anxious about family time. They can provide a great buffer, and some great advice. Let them lead by example, and save the day (as always…)
6. Dogs. In. Costumes.
Taking notes from the internet… do you know who makes humans smile? Non-humans in human-clothing. Bring a boxer with a bow-tie! Or a snuggly spaniel in PJs! Hell, bring a dalmatian in drag for a good laugh. Either way, no one can resist! Fido will provide both entertainment, and plenty of “potty breaks” for you to escape the drama and hit your Vape pen. Don’t have a dog? No problem. Borrow your friends furbaby! As far as Grandpa knows you’re “dog-sitting”, and this way maybe Mom will think you’re considered responsible (sometimes…). Just don’t forget their water bowl!
5. PLAY. LOUD. MUSIC.
Build a playlist-like the wall- and make your parents pay for it. Just kidding. Buy the music yourself, but build it none-the-less. Put music EVERYONE likes, and let it play on shuffle. Nothing breaks up awkward conversation like the fake “OMGGGGG I love this song, lets dance!” Honestly, Jimmy Buffet has a not-so-terrible Xmas album that your parents with love, and your siblings won’t totally hate you for playing.
4. TAKE IT OUTSIDE.
No. Not like a family fight-club. But, should snow bless your home this holiday season, take it outside for some family fun! Nothing helps relieve tension like a good old fashioned snowball fight. It might start an infinity war, but it’s a good opportunity to show your Dad just what a liberal snowflake you are!
3. Let it… go.
So here’s the real advice. Before they arrive, go see your therapist. Talk about all the anxiety you’re having about the upcoming holiday. Mental health is important. Play out every “what if” scenario, and LET IT GO. Let it all go. Breathe in. Breathe out. And keep moving. Remind yourself to cherish the little time you have with your family. Pre-forgive them for not being perfect, and give them the benefit of the doubt that they might do the same. Take the energy you’ve been spending on the worrying, recycle it, and reuse it to plan activities, build a playlist, pick out a silly outfit (for you and your dog!), call your brother, and tell yourself it’s going to be okay!
2. JINGLE BELLS.
So, maybe, the advice in # 3 through 10 didn’t work. Here’s a backup plan, perfected by thousands of kindergarten teachers nationwide. Get a set of bells. Yep, actual bells. Use them to break up inappropriate conversations/discussions/arguments, with the simple ringing of the bell. Explain to your Trump-loving parents, or your Awkward Aunt this is a “peace bell”… and when in doubt you will be forced to RING and SING: “JINGLE BELLS JINGLE BELLS JINGLE ALL THE WAY… oh what fun it is to sur-vive a family holidayyyyyyyy.”
1. Kill Them With Kindness.
This is tough for us Connecticut residents, as our signature move is telling you exactly how we feel when we feel it- but if we can take a bit of advice from fake southern mamas everywhere- it would be, Kill Them With Kindness. While in college at Alabama I picked up one of my favorite southern sayings. “Bless your heart” which loosely translates to “fuck you, bud“. So if your dad tries to explain to you that “racism doesn’t actually exist”, or your Aunt Rita wants you to know way too many details about her new Tinder dating life, just smile and say “Bless your heart”. Deep down, they’ll know what you mean, but you are still keeping the peace.
Good luck and Happy holidays from Connecticut Socials!