There are some people who have wonderful holidays in the company of loved ones, everyone gets along, the turkey comes out perfectly kissed in brown, and then the whole family has a comfortable snooze and goes home. Hugs and good cheer all around. Then…there’s everyone else. There are some people we only see once a year for good reasons. The holidays are stressful enough without throwing in painful interactions with people you share nothing in common with except an Aunt Imogene. The solution? Strategy.
Here are a few tips for surviving Thanksgiving Dinner with people you only expose yourself to once a year:
1. Just eat. If you walk around with your mouth full all day, it gives you extra time to think when Uncle Raymond starts a political conversation, or gives you enough lag time to escape the conversation all together. Just flash a thumbs up and walk away chewing with your mouth open.
2. Stash on the go. You know what stash I’m talking about…your chocolate stash, your cigarette stash, your emergency booze, your emergency <whatever> needs to go in your purse or diaper bag. Excuse yourself to the back porch. No one will follow you, especially if it’s cold. If they do, make an excuse to run to the drugstore. Tell them you need tampons and you’re having cramps. Problem solved. You’re alone.
* Clinger Clause: Tell them you want to talk to them about Jesus. Unless they already love Jesus, in which case you sub that with tree worshiping or some other such you-might-go-to-hell-for-knowing-me conversation.
3. Booze. Need I say more? Cousin Junior is almost amusing on drink number three. He’s a f*ing genius on drink 5. You might enjoy this holiday after all.
4. Dinner over? Make sure there is a football game or a movie on television to distract the masses. If times are tough, go to the kitchen and do dishes. I promise no one will follow you to help. Also, reference #3, which makes all kitchen duty more tolerable. You can also insert Jesus/Satan/Tampon conversations to clear out the kitchen.
* Fisticuff Clause: If an argument breaks out over differing team loyalties just yell, “Hey, I heard Osama Bin Laden isn’t really dead! Someone saw him down at the Piggly Wiggly buying bacon. True story.” This will not only break up the fight and invoke silence, but it might mean you don’t get invited back next year. SCORE.
5. Stuck with them for a night? Go to the movies. It’s spending time together without having to talk. Also, “stash on the go” as necessary.
6. Diarrhea. If times are really bad, you fake a case of the green-apple-quick-steps. “I’d love to talk longer, but I’m about to shit my pants!” OR “Sorry I disappeared for the night, but I had gas that would kill a skunk.”
Qualifiers: you can always invoke the Jesus/Satan/Tampon/Diarrhea conversation options to stop unwanted comments or to clear the room. If you find someone that still doesn’t leave when you shit your pants and talk about the devil? Pour them a drink and start your own dinner party next year. For all the family degenerates.
Rude Questions and Pithy Comebacks
You always need a way to deflect the rude questions that are inevitable at extended family gatherings. I don’t care if you are single, married, childless, or with children, you WILL be insulted by someone.
Q: When are you going to get married?
A: As soon as I clear up this mean case of Chlamydia.
Q: Are you dating anyone yet?
A: Yes, but he couldn’t make it. He has Knights Templar meeting.
Q: When are going to have kids?
A: When are you going to die? Aren’t you like 90 by now?
Q: Are you going to let Little Johnny eat a sixth cookie and climb on the furniture?
A: Are you going to eat a breath mint? Your breath stank.
Q: Have you gained weight?
A: Yes. All that pot smoking makes me hungry.
Q: Oh, you’re not working? What do you do all day?
A: I nap. Because if I fall asleep at Glitter Girls I’ll miss all the tips.
Q: What do you think about immigration reform?
A: Is that the new Beyonce album? Did you see that elevator fight?
Q: Are you drinking another glass of wine?
A: Yes, it’s the only way I can talk to you.
Remember: it’s not a holiday until someone gets drunk, starts an argument, possibly cries, and then leaves in a huff vowing never to return. Try to keep your sense of humor when Aunt Louise says you have a fat ass and that your kids act like assholes. She’s probably going to die before you anyway, so I think the joke is on her. Happy Thanksgiving.