Unless you live in a cave, you’ve probably noticed (starting about Halloween) that Christmas is coming. For lots of us, that means travel and spending time with family. And, love them as we do, getting along with people we see only once a year isn’t always easy (and believe me, it’s not any easier for them).
This is also the time of year that you start to see lists – lots and lots of lists. Lists of gifts for the hard to buy for. Lists of tips about how to “eat smart” during the holidays. Lists on how to travel with children.
Helpful? Maybe. But what would be really helpful are tips on how to survive yet another holiday with family.
That said, here’s my list (based on years of bitter experience) of tips on how to survive the holidays with family. This list is for us; family is on their own.
- Don’t whine. Sure, you’re not crazy about the hard-as-rock bed you’re assigned, or the endless Velveeta/mushroom soup-based diet, or the droning 24/7 drip of Fox News, but remember: your hosts probably aren’t over the moon about you hogging the bathroom for a week, so belt up already.
- Read a book. I recommend something by the Marquis de Sade, or maybe Alistair Crowley. Chuckle to yourself occasionally, and make sure to use a highlighter.
- Smile. This is a corollary to the above. Totally creeps people out.
- If you’re offered a beer, shut up and drink up. It may not be the artisanal craft beer you’re used to, you poser, but it does contain alcohol, so bottoms up.
- Forget. Start your visit with a clean slate and an open mind. Let go of old arguments, discussions and bad feelings. The beer will help with this.
- Mingle with the younger people. When you’re surrounded by your fellow old farts, a youthful perspective can be a real breath of fresh air. Plus, they’re probably holding, so buddy up.
- “Isn’t that interesting?” Remember this phrase and use it a lot. When your crazy grassy-knollist brother-in-law starts on one of his tinfoil–hat anti-government rants and looks your way, daring you to rebut him, just smile and repeat these three magic words. Do it often enough and people will think you are either stupid or not really listening; either way, it’s a win for you.
- If someone is getting on your last nerve, take a walk: Even better – invite the offender to go with you. Remember to take a shovel and several large garbage bags, so you don’t have to go back for them later.