You’re in the homestretch. The holiday season halfway over. You’ve almost made it. All you have to do is get through the end of December. You love your family dearly, we know that. But sitting around the fireplace and pretending to be excited about grandma’s hand-knit holiday sweater that you technically only have 15 more hours to wear isn’t exactly your idea of a joyous holiday.
Not only that, the people you have to deal with are a pain! But they’re your family, so slap on a smile and read on to find out how to deal with your most difficult relatives over the next couple of weeks.
The Bragger: This person is notorious for one-upping everyone at the dinner table. Either their kid is a mathematical genius, or they always have unbelievable work news to share.
What they say: “Geez, this apartment building sure is small. I just invested in a luxury high-rise downtown. It’s got 32 floors!”
How to deal: Sit back and listen to him or her rant. Why? Because it’s rude to point out the fact that someone likes to stick out their chest. Also, everyone else sees right through the smoke.
The Open Book: No detail or fact is ever too private or inappropriate for this person to share.
What they say: “I thought the bunion surgery went well, but I actually think it’s growing back. What do you think?” as they slip off a sweaty tube sock at the dinner table, of course.
How to deal: Find a tactful way to veer the topic of discussion ever so slightly. “Speaking of surgery, didn’t grandma just have her cataract removed? Is she seeing better yet?”
The Gossip: This person knows everyone’s business, but oddly no one knows anything about them.
What they say: “Well, I heard she hit the lottery with that divorce settlement. How else do you think she afforded that new Mercedes? It sure wasn’t with her salary.”
How to deal: A little gossip is to be expected at these family functions. Remind this person to be mindful of their comments, especially if children are present. But if it turns vicious, take note and avoid inviting that person again if possible.
The Holiday Cheerleader: Remember Target’s crazy Christmas fangirl in her signature red jumpsuit? This is her. She loves the holidays more than anything in the world and she’s not afraid to show it.
What they say: “So I was thinking that after dinner we can decorate the Christmas tree and put up lights outside, then we can make hot cocoa and go around the neighborhood singing carols! Let’s go!”
How to deal: You have two choices here. Either join her holiday cheer, or just let her be. She’s got every right to exhibit her love for the season. Don’t put a damper on her excessive Christmas joy just because you’d rather perform the role of the Grinch.
The Nosy Family Friend: This pseudo aunt or uncle has been a family fixture since before you were born. And because of their permanent connection, they feel they have every right to meddle.
What they say: (in a thick Boston accent) “Honey, aren’t you almost 30? What’s the hold up with the marriage and kids? I had four rug rats and a Cocker Spaniel by the time I was your age.”
How to deal: The holidays are almost over. Let your ficticious family member say what they want. Smile and nod… a lot. You won’t have to deal with them for another year, hopefully.
Instead of letting one of these party poopers affect the mood of your gathering, have some conversational weapons up your sleeve. If the family chat turns awkward, you can always steer it into happy mode with one of these topics:
Share great news that’s happened since your last gathering. Perhaps someone’s started a new job or earned a prestigious award. Baby news is always a winner.
Ask the family to vote on what you all will do after dinner.
Did a certain family member not show up? Ask about him or her.
If all else fails and things are going downhill anyway, start a food fight! The holidays are all about creating memories, right? Have your phone handy to snap some unforgettable pics.
How do you deal with your family over the holidays?