How to Deal with Family during the Holidays


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Family Christmas get-together

Hailey Spaeth

By Madeleine Morales ’18, Lifestyle Section Editor

Wow, the holidays are here! If you are like me, you have been fully immersed in the holiday spirit since October, listening to “Let It Snow!” and watching Elf every few days. If you are not like me, (most of the general population) you are now starting to feel the spirit seep into everything you do. The holiday season is fabulous, filled with food, fun, and family. Wait—family, a risky topic.

Whether you vacation or stay in Cincinnati, you will be surrounded by the ones that love you most, and who subsequently drive you the craziest. Family is a touchy subject because everyone has a different family story, but one thing we all share is the fact we will be trapped with these people, both nuclear and extended, for a span of two weeks. In my case, fifteen people will need to coexist under one roof; the ages span from ten to seventy-seven years old. The three tips I give for big family holidays are be kind, be quiet, and be busy.

Being kind, a simple act that can save you from a lot of superfluous drama.  Roasting your little cousin’s terrible fashion sense or whispering to an aunt about your grandmother’s strange chicken dish she makes EVERY year will get you nowhere but into an abyss of trouble. The family dynamic is so complex because everyone loves everyone, but sometimes jokes can be taken too far or out of context. Just keep it light and everything will be all right!

Being quiet, a lesson I learned the hard way. I am an extroverted and opinionated young lady; this tends to not work in my favor during controversial family conversations. From political questions to advice from someone who “knows better,” I find it is best to smile and nod, not giving away too much, especially if you disagree. Along with being kind, being quiet means do not start divulging everything in your life to one of your cousins about something you do not want your entire family to find out about by noon—because she will tell your aunt, who will tell your abuela, and then every family member from California to New York will know what you said, of course with an over-exaggerated twist to make the gossip absolutely juicy.

Be busy, no matter where you are. My best friend over break is a good book, and no, AP English teacher Deborah Floyd did not put me up to this. Grab a few novels that friends have suggested and ensconce yourself in a nook in your house to dive into a good book. Not only can you escape the reality that your entire bloodline is staying in your house, you can also better yourself as a student. If reading is not your thing, draw, write, knit, cook, sleep, or explore wherever you are. DO NOT remain a couch potato this break–your relatives will enlist you to help them with technology or something else equally as dreadful. Keep busy to keep from their line of vision.

We all love our families, but sometimes they can be a little overwhelming. Enjoy your break and focus on the positive that family can bring.