DO allow your grandmother to place her abnormally strong Swedish hands onto your unsuspecting wind-chilled cheeks. She doesn’t get much joy in the world besides her applesauce and one-hour viewing time for PBS, so allow her the satisfaction of pinching your “Wow, I ate way too much pumpkin pie” cheeks.
DON’T succumb to the temptation of poisoning your annoying little cousin’s mashed potatoes with that rat poison you keep hidden in the garage. It’s tradition in every household that your little cousin is going to break your favorite toy, whether it be a Call of Duty disk or a choo-choo train, and take your seat at the holiday table, so just remember to be the bigger person—pun—and rise above it.
DO create a list of pre-planned answers for the awkwardly stale questions that circle the dinner table every year, like “How’s that college hunt coming?” or when your creepy Uncle Louie asks, “So how’s the romance treatin’ ya?” You might begin to feel like a robot who only speaks in the language spoken to a cashier at Safeway, but remember that they’re your family and they will treat you better than your average bagger.
DON’T openly express your disdain for a present while the present-giver is still in your presence. As well as you think you might be hiding your distaste for the pair of tube socks or electric toothbrush torn from the colorful wrapping paper, the emotions on your face are quite clear, and being the Grinch who stole Christmas or the Assyrian who put out the light of Hanukkah is not a favorable reputation to hold in the family.
DO help your overly stressed and sweating mother in the kitchen as she tries to prepare some seared veal and apricot confit while her graying mother is breathing heavily over her shoulder. We realize being in the kitchen all day might not be on your wish list this holiday, but help a motha out and stir some risotto.
DON’T overdo the holidays. Clichéd lights and plastic lawn ornaments are not what the holidays are about. This holiday season remember to take into account the little things, but we also completely encourage your most outrageous Christmas sweaters.
-Brittany File and Emma Fuzie