For many of us, the holiday break is a time to relax, eat great food, and celebrate the holidays with loved ones. That being said, there are some people who absolutely dread the holidays for one reason: family get-togethers. The holidays are one of the few times of the year where you’re expected to see your family. Those masterful excuses you can usually come up with don’t seem to cut it this time of the year. We feel your pain, which is why we’ve come up with some tips to get you through those dreaded family occasions.

Here are five tips for surviving those awkward family get-togethers (count yourself lucky if you don’t need them!):

Adjust your expectations

You need to be real with yourself about what you’re going into. While getting together with family can be a lot of fun, there are some relatives who can make things pretty awkward for everyone. Whether it’s by asking a million invasive personal questions or making inappropriate remarks, they get it done. At this point, you probably know your family pretty well. There’s no reason to expect that this year’s family get-together will be any different from the previous ones. Having realistic expectations will make any awkward situations a lot easier to deal with.

Woman trying to calm down

Prepare to deflect

We all have that one nosy aunt or uncle who asks way to many questions or that loves to nit-pick on all aspects of your life. Maybe these questions even get to the point that your family get-togethers feel more like an interrogation than a social occasion. You probably have a pretty good idea of what you’ll be asked this time around so prepare some set answers for those questions you don’t want to answer (“No, I still don’t know what I want to do with my life” and “Yes, I am still single”) .

A cluster of puppies with red question marks on top of their heads

Pick your battles

While those immature digs your cousin makes about your single life can seriously make your blood boil, you have to remember that some battles are just not worth fighting. Family gatherings bring together all kinds of personalities. Someone is bound to say something to you that really ticks you off. Instead of starting an argument, take a deep breath and remind yourself that in a couple of hours you’ll be out of there and back in your own space.

TV actor, Jim Carrey, staring angrily at the camera while chewing

Bring an ally

If you feel like you need someone on your side or some extra support to get through the night, consider bringing your partner or a friend. Sometimes, surviving awkward family get-togethers is as simple as having someone by your side. They can help you navigate the potential chaos and awkwardness. You’ll feel a lot better knowing that you don’t have to go through the evening alone. Inviting someone outside of the family may also mean better behaviour from your family which may help minimize the all-around awkwardness.

Singers Beyonce and Nicki Minaj eating a burger while entwined

Laugh it off

Sometimes when all chaos breaks loose, you just have to sit back and laugh. Yes, families can be a bit messy and our relatives can occasionally be infuriating, but they’re family. Remember to take it easy on them. While clashing personalities may create cringe-worthy moments, it’s also why we love them. There are probably very few family get-togethers that go off without a hitch, so just laugh off the awkward and embarrassing moments, and enjoy all the entertainment.

Professional boxer, Mike Tyson, laughing and pointing and clapping animatedly



Looking for some things to do this holiday break? Check out 9 great things to do on your winter break.

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