Writing Challenge, Day 18: 2018 Holiday Survival Guide
Hey, family! In the spirit of freely writing what’s on my mind today, I bring you The 2018 Young Adults’ Holiday Survival Guide!
As you know, we are right in the middle of the holiday season. Christmas is upon us and so is the last round of the Annual Holiday Family Shade Festival that many of us subsequently attend while trying to get our fix of turkey, ham, and dressing. Last year, I thoroughly covered the struggles many of us face when confined in small spaces with the whole family; this year, I am going to give you a few tips to survive this last round. I know we all love our families, but we also know that they can work our last ever- loving nerve between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So with that, I bring you these tips for keeping your mind right and maintaining your sanity for a Merry Christmas. Stay strong, y’all; the end is near!
1.) Respect your elders, but also respectfully remind them that respect goes both ways, if necessary.
2.) Deflect snide comments about your physical appearance (hair, clothes, weight, nails, etc.) with overly excited greetings to draw attention to the offender’s rudeness and remind them of what an acceptable greeting is. Then walk away, leaving them looking shocked and silly.
Elder: “Merry Christmas, (your name here)! What’s going on with that head?!”
You: “HELLO,_____! How are you today? It’s great to see you, too! I’m wonderful, thanks for asking! You’re looking quite radiant yourself! Merry Christmas!
3.) Remind folks that thou shalt not give shade they don’t wish to receive. Go armed with your clap-backs, do not leave them at home.
If a shady elder asks you something to try to expose your business, kindly ask them something equally shady to give them a taste of their own medicine. See #ThanksgivingClapbacks on Black Twitter for inspiration.
4.) This is a serious one: Prioritize taking care of yourself. If your family stresses you out to the point that you dread visiting for the holidays, or end up being miserable the whole time you do visit, then visit in short spurts or stay at home. If someone asks you about it, explain honestly, but don’t feel pressured to justify your own adult decision to stay out of spaces that are unhealthy for you.
Channel your inner Nene Leakes if needed.
5.) Recognize that while we all love our families, it is still important to acknowledge unhealthy or toxic behavior when you see it in family members. Even more imperative is the need to acknowledge the effect that such behavior has on you. Don’t force yourself to be in unhealthy or compromising situations for an extended period of time for the sake of someone else’s satisfaction. You can’t pacify others at the expense of your own demise.
6.) Prioritize spending time with those who bring you the most love and joy on the holidays.
I say this as someone from two big families, with one being historically more dysfunctional than the other. I love them equally, but personally, I choose to split my time on the holidays between the two in a way that makes the most sense for me and my well-being. And I have no apologies.
7.) Unless you’re a college student or child, do not pack more than you bring. Don’t roll into anybody’s house with a quart of potato salad and then pack like it’s the last supper, especially if you wouldn’t allow that behavior at your own house.
8.) Don’t get your blood pressure up being surprised by others’ repeated bad behavior.
If they’ve been messy for 40 years, then why are you still surprised every year that they show up doing messy things? If they’ve been bringing the same quart of potato salad to feed 50 people their whole life, and then pack like it’s the last supper when it’s time to go, why be shocked when they do it in 2018? If it continues to go unaddressed, then don’t waste your energy being stressed.
9.) If you’re the host, don’t be afraid to put your foot down about what you will/will not allow in your house. The ones offended probably fall into some of the problematic categories above.
10.) Do not allow anyone to speak to you or treat you any way that counters how they expect to be treated or spoken to. Not on holidays or any other days.
I feel like I’m bring repetitive so I’ll stop there. Basically, spend your holiday season with whomever and whatever brings you the most happiness. And don’t judge my petty, shady comebacks to some of these situations; it’s all out of self-preservation, love, and years of dealing with the exhausting, shady family shenanigans with which many of us have grown all-too-familiar. Love others, but also set the expectation for them to reciprocate in loving you. ‘Tis the season for love and joy.
Happy Holidays, y’all. Stay Kultured.