The best part about holidays are gatherings with family and friends.
I believe that statement to be true, but as usual, there is always a little hyperventilation before I leave the house. The pros outweigh the cons for me when it comes to being in large gatherings. Usually, I’m outgoing, happy to be there, and enjoy making sentimental memories.
But also I’m a real hag. I hesitate to write this, because I’m afraid my sarcasm will come off as rude, but I have to write it, because it’s currently what’s going on inside my brain. It will probably be exaggerated, relatable, honest, and filled with regret. Like all my articles. So here it goes. Hopefully I’m still invited places.
First things first. Caffeinate before going to big gatherings. If you are going to an evening gathering, put ice cubes on your eyes. I’ve never done that before, but how else will you wake up enough to listen to a boring story you’ve already heard nine times? Being super tired at a social gathering is the equivalent of rowing a boat in mud. Eat a lemon. Read some jokes. Get in the mood for being around people! There are different kinds of people at holiday events. Here are some of my favorites:
— The person that feels the need to “educate” you. You fuel my hate fire. They know everything that you couldn’t possibly know, because they have all the answers in life. We get it.
When I encounter these people, afterwards I look in a mirror for the sign written across my forehead that says, “you’re the village idiot.” It’s not so horrible being around these people, until they cross the line of being opinionated about subjects you are actually well educated on … you just don’t agree with them. Do you choose to open your heart and say you disagree? Or do you keep your opinion to yourself?
Either way the people I’m talking about are hardcore activists about everything from the kind of peanut butter they put on their bread to having the “right” opinion on every single debate ever created. I didn’t spend an hour fire-hosing on my face paint to get lectured about why I’m a bad person for giving my kids vaccinations. I’m not asking for sensitivity, I’m just asking to keep things polite, please. And to also notice my dead, lifeless eyes as I take my exit.
— The happy host. Find them. Say thank you. The caterer. The bartender. The school PTA group. Find whoever is working the place and thank them. It will make you a better person and also on a selfish note, you want happy workers to keep things running smoothly. Nothing is more depressing than seeing discouraged people throw a party. Take time to think about that imagery. No bueno. Whoever put on the event you are attending, be sweet to them, they are working hard! While you are sipping a glass of wine or bidding on a pie or harassing the waiter for something not that important, remember they are people too. Pipe down.
— The overworked people. These are my people. They might shut down completely mid-conversation. They might be sitting in the corner brooding, possibly whispering to themselves. You may not have seen them at church for a few weeks, but hallelujah, they finally made it to a service. No one will know your underwear is on inside out and underneath those boots you don’t have on matching socks. Just give them a hug. Let them bring the can of olives and sparkling cider to dinner.
If they have kids, for the love of God, offer to give them a break once in a while. This time of year we all have a lot on our plate. Figuratively and literally. Don’t be surprised if this overworked person with no energy left takes the time to smile at you, and when you don’t have the human decency to smile back, they glare at you until the flames burst forth through their eyes so you are forced to look away in anguish!
Here’s the thing: Congratulations! I am all these people mentioned and you have just experienced them. I’m “educating” you in my own know-it-all (but extremely endearing) way.
I’m happy to host you, as this article is written solely for your pleasure!
I’m overworked, because I look like a mental patient on a laptop with piles of laundry laid around my bed.
There are so many stereotypes you will find this holiday season and I bet we have all been them one time or another. Keep in mind when you are at social gatherings a good rule of thumb is that people might not remember what you say, but will remember how you made them feel. Be polite!
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.