In anxious anticipation for that joyous day we call Christmas, full of family, friends, and awkward moments, here’s a handbook on how to handle whatever less than jolly situation might come your way:
12 Meddling Questions
Going home for Christmas means dreading relatives’ meddling questions.
“Dating anyone yet?”
“You got fired? Again?”
“When are you finally coming to visit?”
“How are you? No, no, no. How are you?”
Beat them to the punch by anticipating such questions. Prepare in advance brief yet sufficient answers and have your responses ready to go by the time you ring the doorbell. When asked that question, reply with your prepared answer, and move on.
11 Kids Climbing All Over You
You do one fun thing with a kid, and they attach themselves to your leg for the rest of the day with those nagging words “again! again!” What starts as cute becomes Children Of The Corn as all the other adults are conversing in the living room without you.
I’ve never been good at saying, “Okay, but just one more time.” And that’s how I inevitably end up at the kid’s table, but, really, that’s all it takes to break free from those pudgy little grips.
10 Minute Dump
I’ve gone to great lengths to have a private poop. And at holidays, after you’ve stuffed your face like a southern baptist at Chick-fil-A, and something starts moving within you but it’s not the Holy Ghost, finding a private moment (or ten) can be a clenching experience.
But, guys, take the dump, and enjoy it. When you’re done dropping off the monster at the pool, put the toilet seat up, and leave it there. Seriously. This will make it look like you just rocked a number one, and you can blame the stink on the person before you. For an extra touch, you could even wave your hand in front of your face on your way out, and say, “Wow, someone lit it up in there.” You and the next guy can have a good laugh about Aunt Bertha’s stank, but you’ll know the truth.
9 Ladies Dancing
This one, 9 Ladies Dancing, is the only one I kept from the original song because who doesn’t have the intoxicated relative dancing away at holiday events? When they lock eyes with you, point at you, and then try to coax you onto their makeshift dance floor, it becomes unbearable. I give the smile and nod so much that my head begins to swivel off.
Push yourself to be upfront and simply say “Though I may look it, I’m not the dancing type.” Otherwise, it’s probably a good time to take that ten minute dump.
8 People On Facebook Having A Better Holiday Than You
This has already started since it was okay to admit to decorating your house for the season. After Thanksgiving, social media flooded with people’s perfect Christmas decor and fearless holiday cheer.
But remember a perfect Instagram filter doesn’t mean a perfect life. It’s always unfair to compare, but especially through social media. So, on Christmas, maybe just stay off your phone altogether. Don’t worry about what you’re missing behind your back; worry about what you might be missing in front of your face.
7 Minutes Too Many With The Non-Talker
Conversation is like a game of catch, and sometimes you get stuck chatting it up with the person who never throws the ball back. Inevitably, discomfort and insecurity ensues as they sit there like a breathing corpse and sip on their hot cup of awkward.
Remember, though, there’s a good chance they feel as uncomfortable as you, so don’t let it get to you. Silence in dialogue is not a poor reflection of you. Ask questions, relish in the silence, entertain yourself with funny noises, or just excuse yourself to another room.
6 Times Getting Cornered By The Talker
A talker is like a man-hunting predator. They lurk at family events, sniffing out their next meal in the quiet and vulnerable outliers. A kind smile and a convincing enough pseudo-listening act is all they need to appease their appetite (which means I’m a feast).
I’ve been there too often, banging my head repeatedly on the kitchen counter of my imagination, and wishing they’d shut up sometime before New Years. Don’t get locked in for hours in a conversation that drives you insane. Sometimes, it’s best to just excuse yourself respectfully.
5 Golden Dinner Rolls…And 6 People
The only time I practice my math is when I’m at a table, and there are only five dinner rolls for six people which doesn’t make mental computation any less painful. I love dinner rolls that melt in my mouth, but I tend to be overly courteous at holiday meals, and I’ll gladly pass the basket while lusting after every sniff I can get.
If you’re like me, it’s not a bad thing to be self-sacrificing in such a way, but no one will judge you for buttering up a roll and enjoying it either.
4 Failed Jokes
The only things I usually say at get-togethers are quick sarcastic remarks that I insert strategically into group conversation. It’s a comfort for me as if it’s my one party trick I can rely on. Sometimes, however, to my shame and horror, a joke falls flat. Maybe no one heard it, or worse, it wasn’t even funny. I end up dwelling on the travesty for the rest of the day, listening to my head taunt me with accusations like, “you’re such a non-funny idiotic fool.”
Everyone can relate to that moment, so this Christmas, just let it go. You can respond in a healthier way than spinning in the past and missing the present.
3 Horrible Gifts
It’s no surprise you might get a gift that, instead of making you feel warm inside, makes you shiver with embarrassment.
But don’t overthink your reaction or second-guess yourself. Simply be prepared to be let down going into the holiday, have a friendly “thank you” ready to go, and be okay with leaving it at that.
2 Cousins With Special Friends
There are always one or two Randies (random people) at family events, and to have a stranger be a part of your intimate and comfortable clan time can feel like someone walked in on you coughing at your physical exam. Your cousin brought the boyfriend you heard your aunt complain about or someone brought the girlfriend who stares at you intently when she roars with laughter.
It’s easy to let Randy put a damper on the day, but realize that Randy is probably more uncomfortable than you are. Welcome Randy with open arms, and don’t let Randies clam you up.
and a Pickle in a Christmas Tree
Maybe the family interactive game isn’t finding the pickle in the tree. Perhaps it’s charades or Twister or some other ridiculous game that pries you out of your comfort zone like a walrus in a McDonald‘s play place.
It’s not easy, but try to let go, have fun, and cherish the holiday with all of its awkward moments. From pulling the card that says “lap dancing” in charades to answering all of the family’s meddling questions, have a happy holiday and learn to simply enjoy it with all of its good and bad and awkward.