9 Top tips for surviving terrible family members at Christmas
With just over two weeks to go until Christmas Day, a lot of people are starting to realize that it might not be "the most wonderful time of the year" that we were all promised. Aside from being bombarded with festive jingles and commercials for discounted mince pies, we're also being pressured into buying gifts, preparing elaborate meals, and getting in touch with family members that we're only about 70 per cent certain are still alive.
Plus, when it transpires that your great auntie Jill is, in fact, still on this mortal plane, and that, yes, she would simply love to join you for Christmas dinner, you actually have to follow through with your offer. And that's a lot of effort. Don't worry, though, just follow these 9 tips for surviving difficult relatives and you'll hopefully make it out with (most of) your sanity still intact.
1. Prepare for the "so what's happening in your life?" inquisition
If you've got a lot of positive stuff going on, great! Talk about it all you want. However, if you've hit a bit of a stagnation point, or you're not particularly happy with where you are at the moment, prepare a sort of highlight reel for your family. Did something fun recently? Tell them about that. Planning a holiday next year? Distract them by talking about your future adventures. Just don't let them make you feel miserable.
2. And for the "do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?" classic
Again, if you're sorted in this department, great. Just show off your other half as much as possible. If you're not, hit them with the old "I'm focusing on me right now" excuse. Or you could be a bit coy and give them a look that says, "maybe I do have a partner, but I'm not saying more than that."
3. Avoid politics at all costs
Pretend to have swallowed a stray turkey bone, fake a phone call, or just straight-up leave the room without warning. Whatever you do, don't talk politics with your weird racist uncle. Just don't.
4. Have a prepared distraction for any awkward moments
If someone does manage to skewer politics into the discussion, offer a hasty distraction. Maybe turn up the Christmas jingles or push the conversation into something a bit more family-friendly by saying something like, "Oh, speaking of Donald Trump, I've been thinking of taking up golf next year." It'll be weird, but at least it won't be politics.
5. Feign an illness
Not a major one, just something like a cough or a sore throat. Either one will give you an excuse not to talk to people, and you'll hopefully garner enough sympathy to avoid any catty comments from your cousin Sheila.
6. Help out with dinner
If you do this, you'll have an excellent weapon in your arsenal. Nobody is going to start something with the person who's just cooked an excellent meal, and it also gives you a great excuse not to be around people for a few hours, at least.
7. Form an alliance
Pick out the most acceptable relative and become their best friend. Who cares if it's your older brother who you normally bicker with, or your quiet aunt that has like eight cats or something. Just choose the least offensive person, and stick to them like glue.
8. Keep Nana off the vodka
It's Christmas, so of course everyone is going to want a little bit of a drink. However, too much of the good stuff is going to have some very adverse effects on some relatives, and before you know it you'll be dealing with an 80-year-old having a meltdown about roast potatoes. So keep tabs on what people are drinking.
9. Have a planned excuse to leave
Mention right at the start of the day that you might have to pop over to a friend's house at some point, or that you've been asked to check on a neighbor's dog or something. That way, it won't seem suspicious if you duck out at any point.
Hopefully, you won't need any of these survival tips, and Christmas will all run smoothly. If you do, though, you should be well-prepared after reading this.