13 People Reveal Their Strategy For Dealing With Family Over The Holidays


1. “Years ago, I figured out the trick to going home for a holiday meal without stepping on any land mines: Lie your face off. Tell everyone they look great and that it sounds like they’re killing it at work or school or getting pregnant or whatever they’re up to. People want to believe their lives are awesome, so you might as well feed them the BS they crave.”

— Stacey, 26

2. “I’m rich—successful hedge fund rich—and I’m not afraid to use my hard earned cash to my advantage. If we’re close, you’re getting a ridiculously expensive present from me on every special occasion, so you’re gonna to be nice to me. Is it crass to buy your loved ones off? Sure. But it’s also the natural order of things.”

— Brett, 38

3. “One word: Xanax.”

— Maggie, 30

4. “If I want to suppress the itch to leap across the table and rip everyone’s hair out, I have to take on a different persona for the night. So I do. I pretend to be the person they want me to be instead of who I am and everything goes relatively smoothly.”

— Lake, 27

5. “You’re going to think I’m really fucked up for this, but I’ve been known to crush up, like, a really minimal, harmless but effective dose of an opiate and sprinkle it in my mom’s cocktail glass. She’s wound really tight by nature, and if she doesn’t relax, no one else can. I’ve been doing it for about three Thanksgivings now and they’ve been the most enjoyable yet.”

— Andrew, 31

6. “Two years ago I moved across the country so I wouldn’t even be expected to show up. It was the best decision of my life.”

— Ramona, 26

7. “By now I know there are certain topics I have to avoid altogether if I want everyone in my family to remain civil. My parents are really conservative and I disagree with them on everything, so I have to keep it light. Movies and books and gossip are safe, for the most part. Politics, religion, and marriage equality—not so much. I lost the will to defend my views a long ass time ago.”

— Tyler, 32

8. “I get everyone wasted. I’m always refilling everyone’s wine glasses because, somewhat ironically, the drunker my family members get, the less likely they are to act like complete idiots.”

— Kurt, 27

9. “Since graduating law school, I’ve relied on strategically planned ‘business trips’ to get excuse myself from Thanksgiving every other year or so. Family reunions are shockingly more tolerable when they’re not annual.”

— Vanessa, 30

10. “My approach is to make myself useful. I help out in the kitchen and I set the table and I clear everyone’s plates. My siblings have always called me a goody two shoes but the truth is, I’d rather do chores than interact with them for more than an hour or so at a time.”

— Carolyn, 28

11. “I never tell my parents that I’m unhappy in my relationship or my job, or that I’m having money problems. If I keep the serious shit locked in the vault, they don’t ask too many questions about stuff and we can all go on pretending that we enjoy each other’s company. It’s really that simple.”

— Reed, 29

12. “At this point my two siblings have families of their own, so there are always lots of kids running around during holiday celebrations. My strategy is to spend most of my time hanging out with the little people. They keep me entertained, and spare me from the adult weirdness.”

— Jean Paul, 34

13. “Any time someone says something borderline offensive, I pause to collect myself and respond as calmly as possible. I never let them—and by them I mean my older sister and mother—know they’ve managed to rattle me. That’s how I manage.”

— Paulina, 23