Familial Encounters Of The Visitation Kind
The only thing more uncomfortable than Christmas caroling to neighbors you don’t know, is doing it with your parents—on horse and buggy. Yeah, that was me… Gone are the days crafting Christmas presents out of macaroni, baking ‘plain’ cookies, and reveling in gift-card cheer. Ok, well not the last one, but you get my point. These days, as an adult or young adult, holidays with the ‘rents can be downright painful. You’d rather be with your roommate or beau but instead you’re hanging garland down the staircase railing hoping that burns off the calories from the 8th meal your mom just made you eat. But don’t don’t fear the cheer, theres a lot of ways to survive the holidays, without slaughtering your neighbors inflatable frosty the snowman.
Get in and get out. Your Hometown week is not like hometown on the bachelor, however, theres a key word here- Week. One week. Generally this is a good amount of time to plan on spending with your loved ones, just enough so that you’re all caught up but not so much that you’re about to throw up.
Now, that rule doesn’t apply if someone is sick, or a recent death occurred. You may have to pick up and go at a moments notice with only a one way ticket. This seems obvious but it can be hard, and feel selfish, to still think about yourself. Mourning does require support, but you don’t have to hold all your families grief on your shoulders and your shoulders alone. Stay in touch with yourself, when you notice that you are too drained to process your own feelings, its time to either take a break and get some fresh air or exit politely. They’ll understand if you are honest and loving with your reasoning, whatever that may be.
You Time On Their Time
Just as its important to have your own space literally (seriously, bunking with your 3 cousins for a week will drive you nuts), you’ve also got to make plans to attend your normal life. Bring all your electronics. A great way to escape without actually escaping is via social media. Keep up with your friends, text, call and stay in the know while you’re gone. Friends are a great venting tool and utilizing that is key, if at all possible, bring a friend or your BF with you. Most likely your fam would love to get to know the people in your life, and bonus, its less attention (or interrogation) on you.
So you haven’t seen your old BFF in a year? Great excuse for a night away from your parents. Meet up with your old clique at sentimental place (IE the Wendy’s by your high school you ate at all the time) and reminisce. But if you’ve kept in touch, you don’t need to overload on the memories, meet up for drinks and an app and catch a movie. That’s a solid 4 hours from the fam, which can be just enough to reset.
Parents Will Be Parents
Keep in mind that you are probably the only one in your family that acknowledges you’ve grown up. You’ll always be their baby, but it doesn’t mean you have deal with pet names or boundary crossing. Give enough info about your life and those in it so that they feel close to you, but not enough so that they feel like your confidant. It’s the difference between talking about a guy you’re seeing and talking about the guys you saw during pledge week. TMI is an invitation to critique and parents don’t know the difference between constructive and instructive, so set your own boundaries and keep things like partying, illegal shit, and guys that your parents will never meet off the buffet table.
Ok, so your dad and grandpa still don’t get along, or maybe your aunt and mom haven’t seen eye to eye since she stole your moms valentines date in 5th grade. Do not get involved. If the bickering keeps going after 4 minutes, Leave the room. Otherwise you risk getting one of those “Don’t you agree with me?!” looks from across the table, or worse, pressured to name who made the better green bean casserole. Try to be the peacemaker when possible, a simple “Alright guys, I’m starving lets eat.” Or obvious Segway about your internship might be enough to quiet the quarrel.
Don’t Be A Fucking Brat
Yeah, it may be embarrassing when your mom makes you go black Friday shopping, or your dad keeps making dad jokes (knock knock shut up), but don’t show it. Deal with it, your family loves you, you love them. Embrace the embarrassing, cherish the traditions and don’t start returning gifts the day after Christmas. Also, if your mom made you an iron on (anything) you must wear it, no matter how over the top she went with the fabric paint. Being grateful for your parents and all they did for you growing up, well this is the time to sort of emotionally pay back the debt for all those nights you missed curfew and worried your parents sick.
Time flies and you never know how much you have, or how much those around you have.