With Christmas in just over two weeks, everyone’s excitement is gradually growing. We’re all excited to see our relatives, cuddle family pets and, well, eat and drink so much that we can’t even breathe. I’m definitely excited for all of that. Especially the latter. If you’re a student or unemployed on a tight budget, you’ll know that food is a slightly restricted luxury. Christmas is just the perfect time of the year. Or it would be… if it wasn’t for some awkward conversations some of us are going to have over dinner. Families are great and we all love them but sometimes, despite their greatest intentions, they can really get under our skin. So how do you go about not losing your temper at the table? Here’s my survival guide: Christmas dinner edition.
Family gatherings give us a chance to catch up with our relatives, some of whom we haven’t seen for a long time. Which means that many of them will want to ask you many many questions about your life. The best thing to do is prepare your answers beforehand. That way you will avoid feeling stressed about coming up with the best ‘excuse’ for why you don’t have children or how long you’re going to wait to get married right there and then. Think about all the possible questions your relatives could ask – and don’t limit your imagination, sometimes my granddad comes up with things to ask me, I’d never even think of myself. You don’t have to go into too much detail either. Just prepare answers satisfying enough and steer the conversation in a different direction as soon as possible.
Load up your plate and keep your glass filled
Food makes us happy. It also keeps your mouth full so it’s more difficult to talk. If someone tries to drag you into a conversation you don’t really want to be a part of (like explaining for the 100th time why you don’t eat meat) just put a piece of potato in your mouth and apologetically point at chewing face. Afterall, no one wants you to choke on food by talking with your mouth full. It can also spark many other conversations like ‘Nana, these potatoes are great! How did you make them?’ and there you have the next 30 minutes filled with a very descriptive recipe for roasted potatoes. Alcohol works as a great tranquillizer so if you really can’t take your uncle Bob’s extremely informative stories about his medical conditions, keep your glass filled. Always use this one in moderation though or you’ll end up spilling your life secrets in front of everyone.
Team up with someone
It’s easier to take on pestering questions when you have someone on your side. Recruit your sister/brother/cousin/parent or whoever you can think of who can understand your situation. You’ll have someone who will roll their eyes every time you start getting criticised by a family member and a person who can always get you out of a sticky situation by saying ‘Oh, I need a hand with opening this bottle of wine, can you come and give me a hand?’. Teaming up doesn’t mean you won’t be thrown a curveball by your family, but it does mean you’ll have a lot more laugh and at least one person on your side. And it’s always a nice feeling.
And finally… breathe
It’s your family we’re talking about. They never mean anything bad. They love you and they care about you. And yes, they can also annoy you like no one else, because they always know what’s better for you, but that’s just what families tend to do sometimes. So next time aunt Doris tells you that you should probably cut down on pizza or you’ll never find a husband, just take a deep breath, agree politely and volunteer to do the washing up right at that moment. Then get your aggression out by passionately scrubbing stuck pieces of food off the plates. By the time you’re back aunt Doris will be pestering someone else. Take situations like this with ease and calm. Trust me, I know it can be hard, just talking about it makes my blood boil a little. But as you breathe out your frustration, breathe in the Christmas spirit. Let it fill you with happiness and love.
It’s Chrismas – filled with love, happiness, laughter and family time. Don’t let one slightly-less-comfortable situation ruin all the mood.
Have a good Christmas everyone.
Until next time xx
How do you deal with awkward family dinner situations?
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