Holiday pro tips: Surviving the holidays at home

Nicole Leonard

 Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the holiday season is not nearly over. To the contrary, it has only just begun. 

Sometimes the holiday season means decorating the living room or cooking your favorite dishes. For some people, it means you’re finally going to get to see those people you’ve been missing since last year. Maybe it means practicing your family’s time-honored traditions.

It means it’s cold outside, but inside is warm and cozy. There is a level of comfort to surrounding yourself with the people who raised you and who watched you grow up. It’s exciting to sit around and open gifts or play games or sing songs with the people you love most, and it’s a reminder of home. 

But not everyone is the Rihanna of the family, and not every family wants to keep the holiday conversation at a happy medium. Sometimes it’s hard to go home after being away for so long, but we have some helpful tips to keep in mind before you blow your cool and wind up crying into a pitcher of eggnog. 

Prepare answers to the dreaded and redundant questions you know you’ll be asked. You know the ones I’m talking about: “What are you doing after graduation?” “Why don’t you bring what’s-her-name home for the holidays?” “Did you buy those pants with holes already in them? I sure hope you didn’t pay full price.”

If you’re proactive, the rehearsed answers will come much more easily to you. 

Try to be a kid again—that’s probably how half of your relatives remember you anyways. Really get into it when you’re playing games with the family. Lick the spoon after you pour brownie batter into the pan. Give yourself a break from stress by pretending for a day or two it doesn’t actually exist. 

Avoid politics. I mean it. At all costs. I imagine no one enjoys a family where every person shares the same viewpoint. And after grandpa’s fourth Scotch or grandma’s 85th birthday, constructive conversation about policy and social issues is a lost cause.

Practice love. And, in turn, accept the love your family has to offer.