Well readers, tomorrow is Thanksgiving (in the US) and that's just the tip of the family holiday iceberg. From now until the new year, it's family time. I have a pretty large extended family, so I see them in small groups to celebrate. My mom has already started calling us and throwing out dates to find out if she can confirm plans with Uncle B's family and all Dad's cousins and the neighbors. I have a lot of great people in my life and I'm thankful to have them blah blah blah--but let's be honest, it's a lot of family time.
If your life is anything like mine (and by that I mean A MESS) then you're probably dreading that moment when the conversational spotlight shines on you. Even great family time can be difficult when you don't know how to tell your aunts that you don't have plans for babies right now. Your job? Your apartment? Your relationship? Your future? Uhhh....those are good questions!....Answer them? Um...
I could give you some simple tips that I've used over the years. Ask questions first! Keep the spotlight on others. Focus on the successful areas of your life, no matter how small! Keep your head up! BORING. Instead, I've come up with a few suggestions to make this family time both more tolerable and also more fun.
Here are my four suggestions for better family time this holiday season--and really all year long. (Ok...I had five suggestions, but one was just "Get to the gin as quickly as possible," and that's rather boring...so FOUR suggestions!)
1. Pretend everything is a road trip word game. Answer every question with another question--first one to use a sentence loses. Choose a famous person in your head and answer questions as if your family is trying to guess who that person is. (I'll be...Beyonce. Are you seeing anyone? Yes. Is it serious? Yeah, I'd say so. What does he do? He's in entertainment. Where is he today? With his daughter. How's work going? Really, really well. Get it?) Choose a buzzword and deduct a point anytime someone says it. Announce the winner over dessert.
2. Hunger Games. No, don't hide under furniture and kill your family. But ask yourself, what would Katniss do? She's a survivor, and she just wants to get through the bullshit and go home. Just like you. So imagine that President Snow is scrutinizing your every move. Katniss knows when to put on a smile and when to rebel. She finds allies and stays away from the Careers. She keeps her emotions out of this. Be Katniss.
3. Search for Horcruxes. You are Harry Potter (or Ron or Hermione) and you have to save the wizarding world. If Lord Voldemort is living among your family, and hiding Horcruxes--what would they be? Where are they? And where is Lord Voldemort? You have a serious mission, Boy Who Lived.
4. Hallmark Movie. If your biggest problem this season is your failed/nonexistent/complicated relationship, this is the plan for you. Hallmark has been showing silly Christmas movies nonstop for weeks now, and I may or may not watch them when I can't fall asleep at night. (Quite the sedative.) Along the way, I've learned a thing or two about these movies. I could write half a dozen, easily. In many of these movies, the main character has an overbearing family who expect to meet their significant other this holiday season. And somehow, they have ended up single. What's a main character to do? Invent a significant other, of course! You can concoct an elaborate story about your relationship (and why it's been a secret...) and then concoct a fabulous but reasonable excuse for their absence and spin fairy tales all night! If you're really committed, you can hire an actor/convince a handsome stranger/beg a single, attractive friend to be your new love interest! Just watch out for any meddling Santa Claus figures--you're sure to stumble onto some mistletoe.
Let me know if you come up with anything else.
Happy Assorted Winter Holidays!