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5 Family Members That Can Ruin Your Holiday

Photograph by Twenty20

The holidays are the high stress situations for pretty much anyone. Did you know 911 operators report more domestic violence calls and incidents between Christmas and New Year’s than any other time of year? That’s for one reason only: family.

For as much as we love each other and all want to come together and celebrate, they can all drive us to levels of insanity that we never thought possible. Movies have ruined our ideals of how holidays should be spent and set expectations at an impossible level.

One of our family’s favorite holiday movies, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” is the epitome of family fails and the ultimate measure of how well your Christmas vacation went.

Moms have it especially rough thanks to the insane assumption that they have to make the holidays magical, not only for their kids, but for the entire family and basically anyone who enters your home. It’s a bit outrageous the amount of pressure put on us. Because no matter how determined you are to be filled with holiday cheer and bring joy to your world there are guaranteed to be five family members who will no doubt ruin your holiday.

Your mother and/or your mother-in-law. If you're hosting a holiday dinner, brunch or even just a party, the expectations can run high. Particularly if your mother or mother-in-law has been doing it years prior and set the bar with their over-the-top awesomeness. There will be potential side-eyes and comments all evening as they take inventory on your décor, gift wrapping and food. Then there is the one-upmanship that can happen with the gifting. We know moms are competitive but three mothers all at once? Back away from the bows, put down the scissors and tape, and maybe no one will get hurt.

The estranged sibling. For some reason, Christmas brings out the estranged relatives and you’re more than likely to see that long-lost cousin or step-sibling show up on the doorstep. This can be both a blessing and a curse. Who doesn’t love a holiday surprise (all the commercials tell you surprising family at the door is the way to go) and a scramble to make another place at the table or find them a gift? The looks of shock rolling through the family are enough to make you chuckle, pour yourself a double, and watch the drama unfold.

The closet racist. Everyone has that one aunt, uncle, or grandmother that says way-out “borderline” racist junk. You never know what will come out of their mouths, and inviting them over for a long drawn out evening can be risky. Especially if there's alcohol involved. But you have to because family. They're going to say something to offend someone at some point, and the best advice is to do your best to separate those that may take issues with one another and to change the subject. Often. Or suggest a game of some kind.

Grandparents, but grandmothers in particular. It’s a fact that anyone who personally experienced the Great Depression has zero chill and will say whatever is on their mind. Grandparents can be amazing to have around all the while having you cringing over what may come out of their mouths. They will tell you that you spent too much money and are “utterly spoiling that child. You should have bought him manners instead of that .” And then ask for a slice of cake. All you can do is smile and go get that cake. What else can you do when they’re 92?

The "foodie.” The wannabe-chef or pseudo-gourmet friend or family member will absolutely ruin your day. Most of us spend an inordinate amount of time planning our menus and selecting ingredients or just figuring out what we’re going to contribute and thusly we take pride in our creations. This person will come along and ask what ingredients you used, why and where you got the recipe. They’ll also share (loudly) how they had the “original” version of whatever you’re making on their last grand gourmet adventure and while it was a bit of heaven in their mouths their sure yours will be “sufficient.” You will take a deep breath and try not to hit them with the whisk.

The holidays are awesome and so is spending time with loved ones—but after experiencing both, I don’t judge anyone who wants a break from their family for a while.

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