Dodging Your Relatives

It’s the Holiday season, and more than likely, you’re going back home to celebrate. Right now, you can practically see all of the things you love: gingerbread houses, candy canes, no homework, a realistic sleep schedule, food – oh what a feast! However, where there is the light of hope, there is also a shadow of impending doom lurking beneath the surface of bright festivities: relatives. You have them. I have them. Everyone has them, and while we absolutely love them to bits, they can be quite overwhelming. Worry not though – here’s how to deal with the people you care about most without sounding like the worst.

Mother: The first person you will see when you arrive home will more than likely be your mother, and it’s fantastic to see her! Unfortunately, there has been a lot of time between the last time you saw her and now, which means she feels justified in once again asking the dreaded question “Is there anyone special in your life?” What’s worse is that if you don’t answer her question, then your aunt and grandmother are undoubtedly going to ask the same thing, forcing you back into the spotlight. Never fear though, for there is a way around this potential disaster. Should mother dearest decide to bring up the question, Craigslist will save you trouble as well as a headache. There are people on Craigslist that you can pay to pretend to be your partner for an entire evening, heck I’m sure you can find one for an entire week. Need somebody to text as if you were dating? Done. Need to bring a guest for dinner? Done. Problem solved.

Father: That whole thing about flattery winning you brownie points doesn’t work with him. In most cases, fathers are the ones who ask the business questions: whether or not you have a job, did you fix that thing with the bank, do you know what you’re doing after graduation, why don’t you have a 4.0, the works. The questions that give you the most anxiety, that haunt you on a day-to-day basis, repeated as if you weren’t already thinking about them. How can you get around having to deal with more anxiety from Dad? Prior to coming home, create a fake Facebook account for a more successful you! Make it look like you have a job! Make it look like you have money! Make it look like you have all your stuff together and aren’t dealing with soul-crushing anxiety! If he asks, give him a fake number for work and tell him that I.T. is working on it.

Overachieving sibling (or cousin): Urgh. It’s them. It doesn’t matter whether they’re younger or older, you hate being compared. They go to the gym more, get great grades – they did a peace project to fight poverty where? Honestly, if it wasn’t for the fact they get on your nerves, you’d be questioning what time machine they’re using to get the spare time to do all this. So what do you do? Beat them at their own game. Anything they can do, you can do better! Oh, they’re going to do a project for the church? Well then, you better get ordained by the Church tonight, at three in the morning if necessary. HA! That’ll show the punk! They’re thinking about becoming a writer? Well, joke’s on them; you’re going to apply to 10 different publication contests just because! Remember, there can only be one favorite child/grandchild, and you’re playing for keeps. So don’t forget to rub it in their faces when you destroy them, they totally deserve it.

Grandparent: Grandmothers and grandfathers tend to be fairly similar – concerned, caring, and perhaps a bit more mischievous than other relatives, if only to give Mom and Dad a hard time. Unfortunately, what they’ll do to your stomach will make sure that the Freshman 15 seems like a lightweight challenge. Do you appreciate it? Yes. But good Lord if they put one more plate of food in front of you, your food coma will be one for the history books. Your escape? Return the favor. Seriously, return the favor – they run out of tea, you get them more. See a blank plate? Offer them more food, and then fill their plate with more casserole than they initially served themselves. Make them cookies and ask them to try some – stuff them with food. Freshman 15? Beware the Senior 60! Pretty soon they will get the distinct feeling you’re not feeling hungry.

Crazy Uncle: Everyone has one, the insane uncle to whom you’re not quite sure how you’re related. At this point though, you don’t question it (if you don’t have a crazy uncle, then congratulations, your dad is the crazy one). He’s not all bad; he’s certainly a lot more relaxed than your parents and not about to question every single decision you’ve made, but good grief where does he get all these gifts from? Every year you slave away trying to think of the perfect gift for everyone, then he walks in and not only is it perfect, but it’s totally extravagant! If you’re going to be miserable while Christmas shopping, then so should he! To make his job harder, you need to develop some really outlandish interests. Oh, he doesn’t know about your latest hobby, pattern making for dog garments? Or about your favorite class at college, underwater basket-weaving? Surprise, surprise. Seeing him scramble around in a desperate attempt to set everything right certainly will be amusing.

Crazy Aunt: You love her, you really do; she’s so much fun! If only she would stop making you try to buy a rock to soothe anxiety or drink suspiciously colored tea to improve your aura. Despite being the most relaxed person in the family, she is often the trickiest to deal with since nothing ever phases her. Trying to one-up her will bite you in the butt as chances are she’s already tried whatever you’re suggesting and then some. Listen, the only thing that can save you is your Overachieving Sibling. Talk to your aunt about how concerned you are about that sibling – their aura is a hideous shade of grey from all their stress, the poor darling, and only an expert in auras could hope to save them. The result: an aunt off your back, a sibling under the bus, and free entertainment.

Everyone else: You’re not quite sure how you’re related, but Mother keeps insisting that you’ve met your grandmother’s thrice-removed distant cousin, as well as all the other members of the slew of nameless faces that shows up every holiday. What you do know is that they may have seen one college movie too many, considering how they won’t stop asking how many keg parties you’ve been to, or how many useless classes you’re taking, or whether or not you’ve gotten hazed yet. They do realize that Hollywood college and real college are different, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, no amount of argument is going to stop them. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find some fun in it. Play everything up. Your favorite class? Hmm, that’s a tough one. It’s a guaranteed tie between Demystifying the Hipster and Juggling, though the Sociology of Snapchat Captions is up there too. Craziest party you’ve been to? Can’t say; all you know is that you haven’t been caught yet. Make your own amusement.

Family: They drive you crazy. They make you want to scream and shout. They ask too many questions and overbear. But at the end of the day, they love you twice as much as they annoy you. Even if they drive you off the wall, you wouldn’t trade a single hour to be away from them. Appreciate the moment, live every second, and keep loving them back.

Merry Christmas.