Culture / Talk of the Town

Our Guide to Insane Family Gatherings

Published 11/18/2014 by

Oh Joy. Tis’ the season. Cold nights spent indoors with warm friends, the red Holiday cup from Starbucks and every version of “O Tannenbaum” stuck in your head until 01/01/15. Every year starting with Thanksgiving, we spread our glittery good will and festive forgiveness 24/7 unto everyone deserving or not….that means mega weirdo I-never-see-you-but-lets-pretend-we-care extended family members too.

Smothering Bubbe’s, pushy Zia’s, smelly Uncle’s, angry Grandpa’s, and lame cousins –you name it, lump ‘em all in to the living room with a paper plate full of turkey and a glass of mom’s famous eggnog. Welcome to Christmukkahwanza no Grinch here gets out alive. Alas don’t despair, come December we’ll all be enduring some type of holiday horror but it will be over before you can say ‘scrooge’ with this simple plan.


Hey There Big Small Talker

Ok so before you scout your Grandma’s house for a corner to hide (ahem tip number 2), let’s give it the ol’ social try. Should small talk happen to become the biggest part of your evening, why not try winning it? Master the mingle by redirecting every conversation to a) travel or b) what Christmukkahwanza was like when THEY were a kid. BOOM in the bag. Sit back, relax and listen –throw in some periodical ‘oh’s!’ for good measure. No matter what age or hierarchy within the family tree, everyone is secretly the dancing lady emoticon when it comes to talking about themselves, even your 6-year-old shrieking cousin. Besides who doesn’t like to hear about the price of turkey in 1944?

YUMMY!  Family times are here

YUMMY! Family times are here



Yep, I’ll Be Over Here

If small talk ain’t your thing, don’t fret, it’s time to explore Grandma’s house anyway. Remember that trunk you’ve always wondered about up in the attic? What treasures does it hold? Maybe a new family? Now is totally the best time to take a stroll up there and play Sherlock while the rest of the clan binge on sweet potato pie. Maybe you’ll find a long lost photo that solves a family mystery. Or better yet a pair of dusty vintage diamond earrings! Best of all? No one will be able to find you so you can watch Netflix in peace for the rest of the night. Queue it up!

JOY! The one emotion you're probably NOT feeling

JOY! The one emotion you’re probably NOT feeling



“They’ll love you”

Sure, maybe. But as countless holiday RomComs have showed us, visiting your S.O’s family for the first time may not be as easy as you think. Millions of eyes dissecting you as you elegantly shovel mashed potatoes into your perfectly red-lipped mouth. The nerves! The fastest way to relocate to the good side of your new surrogate family is to show up bearing gifts. Mom’s will marvel at the return to the lost art of politeness, and dad’s everywhere will rejoice that you’re normal. So fill those big open arms with GC’s, flowers or anything golf related. Remember, the firmer your handshake, the less they’ll mess with you. Maintain eye contact!


If all else fails, some room somewhere will have a TV playing the NFL, Die Hard or Christmas Vacation. Now you can watch other people’s dysfunctional families. Amazing!


Happy Holidays from CIS!


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