As we all start traveling this week and head home to spend time with our families for another cherished holiday season, some are filled with excitement, while others have more of an ominous outlook on a dinner surrounded by people they may not always see eye-to-eye with. You can’t choose your family, and unless your parents are Mike and Carol Brady, chances are you’ve had your share of quarrels. However, that doesn’t mean that the holidays have to be a downer. Peep our secret list to surviving the last remaining bits of 2016.
1. Don’t Attend.
You could just not go. End of story. Curl up with a Cup O’ Noodles like Carrie Bradshaw did in the SATC Movie and call it in.
2. Don’t Talk Politics.
Whether you were for Trump or Hillary, there’s always someone in every brood who voted for the other one (or the Green Party, bless their hearts), but in order to avoid food thrown all over the kitchen, stick to lighter topics, like travel.
3. Bring Lots of Booze.
Alcohol sends everyone to a happy place, right? Drown out the sound of family squabbles while drowning yourself in a martini instead.
4. When You Feel Anger, React Antithetically.
Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow gave “loving advice” on what to do in a fight with a partner? Turns out, the idea holds water [See clip below]. It’s a hard one to pull off, but if you can do it, more power to you. Example: If your crazy Aunt who’s chugging glasses of Franzia in the corner won’t shut up about being pro life, instead of screaming at her, go give her a hug and tell her you love her. Not only will it be cathartic for you – releasing your tension in a positive way – but it will completely catch her off guard and put her in her place.
While we normally condone speaking in exact accordance with feelings, sometimes, in order to avoid conflict, it’s necessary to apologize for the way someone feels instead of confronting them about it with your opposing viewpoint. “You don’t think women should receive equal pay? I’m so sorry my opinion differs, but that’s just something we will never agree on. Can you please pass the mashed potatoes?”
6. Use “I Feel” Statements.
Using aggressive language like, “You were crazy to vote for Jill Stein!“, can be polarizing. Instead say, “I feel like voting for a Third Party Candidate can be seen as a vote taken away from someone with more of a chance at winning.” People can’t blame opinions; they are more likely to be angered by harsh statements that call their character into question.
7. Bring Really Good Dessert.
No one can stay made at a person who baked a bomb Chocolate Cheesecake.
One way to make sure parties run smoothly? Reflect on happy times. Make mention of fun, happy memories all of you shared together to put everyone in good spirits.
9. Make Fun of Yourself.
One way to ensure everyone is on the same page is for you to become the martyr. Doing or saying something silly everyone can make fun of allows you to control the situation so that everyone can be on the same page and instead of disagreeing with each other, directs all the focus on you. Take one for the team. Recommended air-headed statements, such as, “what plant does salt come from?” or “what language do they speak in Ireland?” will do the trick. [Editor’s Note: I know from personal experience]
10. Tell Everyone You Love Them.
These words will likely flow more easily the more liberally the Cabernet is flowing, but just remember to put out kind vibes. At the end of the day, you can’t choose your family, so you might as well make the most of it. And chances are, you love them, at least a little bit, deep down.