Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How To Survive The Holidays

Christmas is quickly approaching. As I write this, it’s only six days away. You’ve battled the bargain shoppers and survived Black Friday. The decorations are all put out around and on the house. You hear Christmas music everywhere. You’ve even finished your shopping early and won’t be rummaging through the Walgreens sales bins at 10 pm on Christmas Eve. You’ve done the hard part.

Or have you?

Christmas is the time of year for good cheer. It’s the time of year where we get together with our friends and co-workers for the excessive partying that we love so much.

Then, it’s Christmas morning.

After opening the gifts, for most of us, the best part of Christmas is over.

Then it’s time to pay for our sins. No, I’m not talking about the overcrowded Christmas mass for you church-going folk. Nope, I’m talking about the one thing you would like to avoid, but can’t. They are the bane of the existence of all of us.

Now, I’m referring to the fringe family members that we all have. I’m talking about the relatives that you haven’t seen since LAST Christmas and won’t see again until NEXT Christmas.
I’m going to explain the different archetypes of crazy that show up at family functions and how to deal with them.

The Drunk
This is probably the most common archetype that shows up at every family function and has the chance to ruin it. You know what I’m talking about. They show up at the party having already had WAY too much eggnog. It doesn’t matter what kind of drunk they are, they can be the angry drunk, sad drunk, or the really obnoxious I-Love-You drunk. If you let them get too far out of control, your party is ruined.

The Solution: Here’s my favorite tactic. If it’s your home, you have to prepare early. If not, get there early so you can help deal with this eventuality. Be part of the solution. Lure them into a room that you have prepared before they get there with no breakables or anything you want to keep. Tell them to hold on and leave the room and lock them in. Most sloppy drunks lose coordination skills and have trouble manipulating simple things like locks. If this is properly planned, no one will hear them banging on the door and they’ll give up and pass out within minutes.

The Politician
This archetype is seriously obnoxious. It’s considered good manners to keep political discussions/arguments out of polite company. However, this isn’t polite company, this is family and everything goes. The politician is the one who considers himself the expert on all matters political and the other party is dead wrong. This is archetype ranges from the non-bathing, tree hugging hippie to Rush Limbaugh. Neither has a place at the family events…or anywhere for that matter.

The Solution: This requires a bit of tact. You can easily find yourself sucked in the black hole of political banter. You want to avoid this at all costs. This can cost you valuable minutes off your precious life. This is a simple tactic that I’ve used over and over again to get people to leave me alone.

Find out their political affiliation. That won’t be a problem because they will be offering their unsolicited opinion anyway. When they stop to take a breath, say one sentence that rebuts their argument. Just one. When they begin to reply, walk away. If they follow you around the house giving you their rebuttal, at least you can be entertained while ignoring what they have to say. If they leave you alone, mission accomplished. This works whether you agree with them or not. The object is to shut them up.

The Brat
This can be a touchy one. Of course, kids will be kids and sometimes they just need some sleep. I can get a bit cranky when I need sleep myself. I am going to assume that this is a niece, nephew or a younger cousin whose parent needs to add some discipline in their life. Remember, sometimes The Brat may be a bit older. It might be someone who’s lazy and just not working waiting for a handout.

The Solution: This one is solved very quickly and effectively:
Discipline. In my family, a good belt or an old school switch (depending on which relative I pissed off). That usually scared the youngsters straight.

Like Robert Jebediah Freeman once said, “I hate to see a child go unbeaten.”

What about the adult? Another easy fix: An open hand smack to the mouth.

(Pat on the back to whoever can come up with where I got that one from.)

In conclusion, I know this is a much longer post than usual, but it’s important. We have live very stressful lives and the holiday season can be the most stressful. With these quick and easy solutions, you can not only survive the Christmas visits, but thrive.
Merry Christmas…or whatever you celebrate.