So, you’re attending or hosting the annual dysfunctional family holiday gathering. Need some help on how to survive without murdering drunk uncle Dave? Here’s an easy-to-read guide to get you through it without having to slip on any handcuffs. Unless you’re into that kinda thing. Wink Wink.
If your family is a nice normal traditional family with no one in rehab or jail, this post is not for you. But feel free to read on and enjoy. Not everyone can relate to unhealthy, toxic, moronic, dysfunctional family dinners. Below is a rundown of a typical Midlife Margaritas Holiday Family Gathering with tips.
Hosting: We used to have all our gatherings at my grandparents’ house. Now that they’ve passed on, it’s usually with whomever gives in towards the last few days before the actual holiday. Christmas used to be at my uncle’s house, but I get the feeling he is going to end that tradition because the entire thing is a pain in the ass. Tip for hosting: Wait till the last minute to see if any other relatives will host. If not and you feel guilty, then just do it. Liquor up before hand and get in a few extra hours with your therapist.
Inviting: You would think it would be a no brainer. But in this digital age, most people just text everyone or facebook them. The older generation expects a phone call or an invitation in the mail that you painstakingly designed at the Hallmark store and paid big bucks to have them made and mailed out. Don’t forget to add the RSVP info. Make sure to put the stamp on the return RSVP card. After all that you may just as well send the invite via horse and buggy three or four months before hand. For. The. Love. Tip for Inviting: Text the younger generation and tell them to call the older ones. They may not think it’s the proper way to invite but who the hell cares?!
Preparing for the day: At our gatherings we have the exact same menu as we have had since the 1800’s. Only difference is we can now buy the stuff in the store and not hunt them with bow and arrows. AND we have the exact same menu for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. We tried to change it twice. Once grilling burgers and my grandmother declared it was not Thanksgiving if we were grilling. The next time was with a Bojangles Tailgate dinner of fried chicken and all the sides! NOPE. The younger generation loved it, but the older ones talked about it behind my back as if I had committed a cardinal sin. Which is fine since none of them are rich or have me in their wills. So, we went back to dividing the list up and everyone brings something. Hosts do Turkey. Tips for preparing: Dollar Store décor for the tables, make sure the kids table is in an entirely different room. Water down the booze. Have plenty of empty butter containers for leftovers. Don’t bother vacuuming. Obviously. And hire a cleaning company to come in the next day. Self-medicate.
The Actual Mealtime: Make it buffet style. Use paper plates and plastic utensils. It’s a family holiday and the Queen will not show up, I promise you. Make sure to keep the feisty family members seated away from each other. The feuding cousins in separate rooms and remove all booze at this point. Ask the family member who needs Jesus more than the rest, to say grace. If (when) any fights start to escalate, send them outside and secretly call the neighbors to watch because there will be a show in the backyard. Have 911 on standby. Serve coffee and desserts immediately after dinner. This tends to calm people down a bit. Tips were already included in the paragraph.
Politics: There was a time when politics were not a big deal at the holidays. Now, you can’t get away from it. Tips for handling political feuds: Remind everyone that there will be no politics during the gathering. No one will listen but at least you said your peace. Maybe no alcohol at all. Hide it in your bathroom where you can get to it if you need a shot of Tequila here and there to get through the day. Also remember the first Thanksgiving was probably a lot easier than your family’s is. And they had reason to fight! Also keep telling yourself that these people share your DNA (at least that’s what you think) and your own kids might turn out like them.
Back to politics. Unless you want to sit back and be entertained, try not to let anything escalate. Remind your family that if they have issues with the world today, they had the chance to vote in the midterms. If the day ends up with tears, bruises and broken glass, throw them all out, tell them someone else can host this shitshow next year and threaten to write a book.
I’m sure once my family reads this, we will defiantly have something else to discuss at the gathering other than politics. Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays or whatever the hell you want to call it!
Now just for fun: Watch this video! I mean a TARGET Ad via SNL (This is not my family just FYI)