It’s that time of year again. If I have to delve into it, then consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Although, I suppose you too at some point have had to gather round a family dinner table and witness the feasting and prying of your personal life, by your own blood. The key to the holidays is all in your approach.
Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my family during the holidays. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and the older I get, the more I appreciate they’re having taken the time to see me as well. However, every year it’s the same questions. “What are you going to do with your life?” Followed by the classic, “When are we going to meet a boyfriend?”
It seems the holidays are about spending time with your loved ones, however, at times it feels as though my family is trying to extend its reach through my intimate life.
And so, to answer their latter question, not any time soon.
The best piece of advice I have received for the hours leading up to family holiday engagements was to take “sister shots.” I have a sister, so that doesn’t mean I just took shots in tandem.
My approach for the holidays last year was to indulge when I could, always have something to eat in my hands in case I needed more time to answer, and sleep. I usually check all of those off on Christmas Eve during our annual family and friends get together.
Of course, sister shots would have been helpful last year while my aunt spent all of our Christmas Eve socializing me with her friend’s kids. She and I interrupted a lot of conversations so I could be formally introduced, and then left to my own devices while she continued to host. Alcohol also would have made her comment suggesting she should set me up with her nephew less awkward—to clarify, my aunt and I are related by marriage, not by blood. Regardless, it was weird. My sister and I took the time afterwards to explain how we shouldn’t close the family circle.
Then at some point in the evening my family can’t help but pull out a good old electronic word game. There are a few too many Alphas and a general lack of volume control in my family. It’s Family Feud, but with no host to referee. Although, it usually ends well, it’s rough along the way.
Despite the lack of alcohol, occasional tears from board games, socially unacceptable family encounters, and the inevitable dissection of my love life, family gatherings are mostly lived not always merely survived. I undoubtedly would hate spending the holidays alone.
Even if it is just staying up late with your dad to watch The Polar Express, because some traditions never get old, it is always best to celebrate with company.
The truth is eventually all the good things in your life change, just as the bad. However, for your approach during this holiday season my best advice is to remember that the lines will eventually shorten, the best gift is time, and there isn’t enough alcohol in the world to make your family appear any more normal. So relax and enjoy responsibly.