The Holidays can be stressful. Lots of time around family, and tensions are sure to be high. Most people have a love/hate relationship with visiting family for the Holidays, right? On the one hand it’s great to see everyone, you love your family even though they’re nuts, there’s a lot of pie. But on the other hand it’s kind of awkward, people keep asking you why you’re not married, and your mom and dad hate each other so much they can barely be in the same room.
If you’re anything like me, witnessing conflict between people you love is even more uncomfortable than watching your grandparents make out under the Mistletoe. Not to mention it ruins the Holiday cheer. So whether your parents are divorced, your Uncle’s in jail, or your brother brought a hooker as a date again this year, it’s up to you to take matters into your own hands and bring everyone together.
My advice stems from a technique I learned in early childhood called ‘Scapegoating’, and this specific How-To is based on true events and were highly effective on Christmas Eve 2009.
Step One: Wake up on Christmas Eve full of anxiety about your parents’ annual party that will take place in about 12 hours. Decide that to cope with the nerves you will commence drinking from a flask of vodka that you have preemptively hidden under the mattress in your parents’ guest room. Get a little buzzed and put on your workout clothes.
Step Two: Walk into the Kitchen where your mother is already cooking, and tell her that you would love to help but have some important errands to run first. You will be all hers when you return. Also, ask her if you can borrow the car and $20. (She will hopefully be distracted with the pie crust she is making from scratch and say yes.)
Step Three: Go to the tanning salon. You are very pale and need to be at least three shades darker by tonight if you want your step cousin to stop asking you if you’re ill. Even though she protests, tell the lady at the front desk that you want a full 20 minutes in the tanning bed. Finally submit to 18 when she insists that’s the legal limit.
Step Four: Head to your local bar for lunch. When your skin starts to feel hot, order another vodka. Stay there for a while talking to the bartender. Order a few more drinks to dull the pain of your burning skin. Once you realize that your entire body is beet red, go to Macy’s and buy a few bottles of foundation for your face, arms and neck. Start to regret your choices.
Step Five: Go home. Ignore any and all comments from your mother and go upstairs to the guest room. Get dressed for the party. Decide against the holiday dress you bought at The Loft and wear the sequined, leopard print club dress you brought for New Years Eve instead. You want to look sexy if you’re going to impress your dad’s friends. Also, maybe the sparkle will detract from how red your skin is. Once you are in the dress, smear the foundation over all exposed skin. There will be a lot, so feel grateful that you bought multiple bottles. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you can do this.
Step Six: Join the party. Drink straight rum and tell everyone it’s ‘mostly cider.’ Start to touch the arms of non-blood related guests and throw your head back as you laugh. You are doing great. No one is even looking at your parents. Make sure to sit down next to the family friends you’ve known since birth and place your hand on the thigh of the husband as he holds is wife’s hand. Tell him he was always your favorite of Dad’s friends. Dance, regardless of whether or not there is music playing. Tell your cousin she looks fat. Get pissed off when people suggest you stop drinking. Storm out of the house. Come back in after 15 minutes when no one comes looking for you, and announce that you’re going to bed.
Step Seven: Actually go to bed. Keep the dress on. Congratulate yourself. Thanks to you, no one had to deal with the discomfort of watching your parents pretend to get along.
You saved Christmas!