We all know the cozy holiday commercials where the whole family happily gathers around the table to smile and savour canned soup poured over rice in slow motion. Everyone is so happy to be together. The kids are laughing, the cousins are all getting along, and the uncles aren’t creepy. We also know that this, despite what your mom tells her friends, is not even kind of what your dining room table looks like at the holidays.
Everything is going great, and then someone brings up politics or religion or why you aren’t married yet, and everything goes to… no cussing at the table. So instead of losing your mind or worse, joining in on the three hour conversation about how climate change isn’t real, here are some alternative activities to consider when you sit down with your family this year.
1.) Text ‘U Up?’ to all the boys in your phone under the table
There’s nothing like the holidays to bring you and the 50 random dudes in your phone together again. Remember that guy you exchanged numbers on Tinder with but never met? That guy off Tinder you DID meet and then ghosted because he couldn’t stop talking about his ex who broke up with him in Mexico? What about the one guy in your phone under “Maybe Kevin?” who you can’t remember but you’re pretty sure you offended back in 2014? Now’s a great time to touch base and catch up.
2.)See how much food you can put on your uncle’s plate while he explains how the bible says men are better than women.
Just nod, maintain eye contact, and transfer fistfulls of dressing to his plate. This one also works on cousins who can’t stop talking about how important guns are and parents who are dying to bring up the T word. Bonus points if they aren’t sitting next to you.
3.) Regurgitate the premise of your latest Netflix binge in first person when your nosey Aunt asks what you’ve been up to all year.
“Well, Lisa, it all started when my best friend, Barb, didn’t want to come with me to the party at Steve’s house… but spoiler, it doesn’t end with me being married.”
4.) See how long you can go without saying anything.
Okay, this one is a little sad because the answer is: a real long time. Holiday dinners primarily feature a variety of loosely related people speaking over each other about their own agendas. It’s a survival of the fittest situation, and no one will notice if someone pulls their horse from the race. But really, did you want your horse in that race to begin with?
5.) Emergency Measures: Put the dog on the table.
As Newton’s law tells us, “For every holiday dinner table, there is an equal and opposite dog under the table.” And that dog’s salivation levels would make Pavlov proud. He’s so close but so far away. He’s ready for that turkey like you were ready for Hillary. It’s science. So when someone finally crosses the point of no return, when all hope of a civilized family meal is lost, it’s not only the right choice. It’s the only choice. Pick that pooch up, put him on the table, and run for it! Bonus points if he’s a doberman.