Monday, December 18, 2006

Surviving the Holidays

I had my first "Going home for Christmas" anxiety dream last night. I won't go too into detail (because everyone hates that) but it involved me disappointing my family by never being on time to anything, my father and I inexplicably trading wallets and then me trying to buy a gun at Costco using only quarters. Not sure where any of that came from. I have a big, happy family; lots of uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. and we all get along and actually enjoy each other's company. The only bummer is that I'm the only child of divorced parents, so there's that whole trying-to-please-both-sides-of-the-family, equally-dividing-my-time thing; I know, poor me... everyone loves me and wants to spend time with me. Rough life. Whatever, it's a delicate balance I have to strike and sometimes it makes we want to punch a wall like a moody teenager.

ANYWAY, with that in mind, here's a few tips to get you through your own holiday family gatherings. Heed my advice; would I post them if they weren't all entirely, irrefutably true?


1. Take about twenty-five candy canes and a bottle of tequila and throw them into a blender set on frappe. It's called Elf Barf and when you chug-a-lug a pint of it with your 16-year-old brother, it'll give both of you the power to lay down in the snow and not feel anything but blissful warmth. That warmth is frostbite, so don't stay down for too long.

2. Figure out who's your most awesome relative (you probably already know; if not, start with whichever Uncle is drunk by noon). Stick with them as much as possible, especially during the rough post-presents/pre-Christmas lunch when everyone is hopped up on stocking candy and gift-related disappointment. This is the prime time for the "fuck yous" to come out from the more bitter, angry relatives and you're going to need a buddy.

3. If whatever house you're celebrating in has misguidedly hung up some mistletoe, avoid that demon weed like you stole its girlfriend. It only leads to really awkward moments when you find yourself and your hot second-cousin standing under it, especially if you've been talking about bands you like while drinking eggnog. Your holidays will be much more pleasant without sexual confusion thrown into the mix.

4. Don't be the guy that gets all snotty about presents. Even if you got some bullshit sweater that a homeless guy wouldn't wear from your aunt, smile like it's the new Tom Waits collection (or whatever) and give her a big-ass hug. The only ones who can get away with ingratitude are kids under five and even they'll get a spanking for it.

5. If your Mom wants to drive around and look at Christmas lights, fucking go. It's your Mom, dude, and she never gets to hang out with you. Just go "oooh" at all the prettiness and make sure to rag on the one house that only uses red lights and looks like a Dutch brothel (every town's got one).

6. Take some time to drive by your old high school. If you can sneak in, do it, especially if you had either a really good high school experience or a really bad high school experience. For the former, reliving the "good ol' days" is always a hoot and for the latter, it'll feel really satisfying to drink a six-pack of beer in front of your old locker and then piss in the hall.

7. If you're habitually poor like me, eat all the free, home-cooked food you can get your hands on. Don't give a shit if your exercise-obsessed aunt gives you the stink-eye on your third trip back to the green-bean casserole. This is your one chance until next year to chow like a Sumo wrestler on food that didn't come 4-for-a-buck at the bodega.

8. Just be nice to everybody. Even if things are shaky between you and your folks, don't come in with a one-ton chip on your shoulder and act all scowly and petulant. When you get back with all your friends after the holidays are over and they're all bitching about how their Dad called them "a little shit" and how nobody spoke to each other, think about how cool it'll be to whip out the "we all played boardgames and got silly drunk while watching The Grinch" stories. It'll make all your friends jealous and you'll have had a blast with your people.


Blogger Krista said...

Holy shit, this is hilarious! And at the same time, so wise. I come from a similarly divided family and will definitely be taking this list with me next time I get roped into going home for the holidays.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...


I'm not sure how wise I am, though. Remember, I'm the guy who's freely copped in this blog to hurting himself opening a door, buying a ahoddy, sham video game from a street vendor, and consuming a hot sauce that had the same physical properties as acid.

10:27 AM  

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