There’s a lot to be thankful for this year, and then there’s some things we could do without... say, pretty much all of the last year in politics—we could certainly do without that. Well, Grandma Nancy and Uncle Joe might have some different political opinions from you. Before ditching the holiday altogether, here’s a few survival tips for you.
Scenario 1: You’re all around the appetizers, and suddenly your grandma decides to say how excited she is about Trump's [insert terrible policy here].
Your response: The best thing to do here is not to say anything about your opinions on Trump. Chances are, your family members know your political views. Try to appeal to an issue they're sympathetic about—or segue into a completely new topic, like how you're learning about 1950s America in school. I mean, it’s not completely irrelevant!
Scenario 2: Your uncle is drinking coffee and, in between sips, starts talking about his disgust with gender neutral bathrooms.
Your Response: Don’t feed into this conversation. What I’ve realized is people get uncomfortable about things they don’t understand, so their only defense is to make some snide remark about it. Instead of throwing him the facts and figures about why gender neutral bathrooms are necessary and unharmful, just stand up for the people he’s dismissing. Say something like, “If you were in their shoes, you’d think differently,” and leave it at that. If this is a topic that really hits home for you, slip away from the conversation. I’m sure you’ve got some open-minded cousins that didn’t come to talk politics anyway.
Scenario 3: The college conversation comes up (as always) and you tell your family you’re applying to art school, to which they reply, “Art is not a real job.”
Your response: Say absolutely nothing and silently start sculpting a lifelike bust of your Uncle Steve out of your mashed potatoes. Sell it for a high price on eBay, then send your family pictures of all your cash. Or, as an easier method, prepare a PowerPoint of all the successful artists in the world and whip it out when needed.
Scenario 4: You’ve decided to sport your hairy armpits this year in your cute new dress, and Grandma Jean seems to have a problem with it.
Your response: Pull a razor out of your purse and shave your armpits right in front of her. Or you could say something like, not conforming to beauty standards if I don’t want to is pretty trendy now, and go on eating that apple pie.
Scenario 5: Your cousin Mike starts a whole conversation on the immorality of abortion.
Your response: Stare into Mike’s soul, and calmly say: “Mike, will you ever need an abortion? That’s what I thought.”
All joking aside, the winter holidays are always tough for a number of reasons. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious about the extra family time, start a group chat with your closest friends (I’m sure you have one already) and share your conservative horror stories from the day. After all, it only comes once a year. Understand you probably are more educated on current events than your family; take the initiative of steering away from all the ugly conversations.
Cover Image via ShutterStock. Article originally published on November 24, 2016. It has since been updated.