Christmas is a wonderful time for gift giving, sharing, togetherness and… family. Lots of family. For days. Days and days with your family…
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my family, and we (touch wood, for God’s sake don’t jinx it) get on pretty well at these occasions. But while most people adore your nearest and dearest in small doses, unnaturally long, alcohol-fuelled sessions can lead to some pretty big blow ups!
So for those of you who never again want to hear the dreaded words: “Christmas is ruined!” here’s a little how-to guide for surviving Christmas with your family.
Arrive with a good attitude
If you don’t want to be there, your family will pick up on it faster than a sniffer dog at an airport. If you walk in with a big grin on your face and act like there’s no place in the world you’d rather be, it will start things off on the right foot for everyone.
Be really helpful
Offer to help the minute you arrive, take on jobs you’re given and be careful not to cross over from helpful into takeover territory. The last thing you want to do is upset your family by accidentally instigating a kitchen coup.
Don’t bitch about people who aren’t there
Unless you’re sure they won’t find out.
Relinquish control of the remote
Did you know that a made up statistic tells us that 90% of Christmas blow ups happen because nobody can agree what to put on TV? If there’s some Christmas telly you can’t bear to miss, set it on record at home and adopt an aura of apathy over the family entertainment.
Avoid conversations about politics
When you throw a group of people together who a.) don’t usually spend a lot of time together and b.) come from varying generations and social backgrounds, you’re going to get fireworks if you talk about anything vaguely political. Political conversations can arise unexpectedly from seemingly innocent and unrelated topics! Chatting TV can turn nuclear in a matter of seconds and without warning.
If you do accidentally find that politics comes up, and other people’s opinions are making your blood boil, take that opportunity to go out for a breath of fresh air, or run and help out in the kitchen. While I would usually advocate standing up for your beliefs, you’re not going to change any views with a Christmas row and you only have to tolerate them for a short amount of time, no matter how abhorrent you find them. It’s just not worth the drama.
Be mega enthusiastic about your presents
Hate the tie your auntie gave you? Can’t wait to regift that Miley Cyrus CD your grandparents got you because that’s what the young people like? Save it. The only appropriate reaction to getting a gift from your family is sheer unbridled joy, even if your fake smile comes off a bit Wednesday Addams.
Have an exit strategy
We all have our limits. Make sure that someone who can drive you home stays sober and that, if you can, you have an exit strategy lest the whole situation become unbearable.
Merry Christmas everyone!