How to navigate family during the holidays

David Blondin


It’s that time of year again, Gobble! Gobble! Gophers will be traveling near and far to spend time with their families this next weekend for the first round of Holiday revelry. During your family thanksgivings there are certain ways you are expected to act, and certain questions you are expected to answer. Unfortunately, those questions and societal standards are boring, so the Minnesota Republic is here to spice things up this holiday season. 

Situation 1:  The question “So, are you seeing anyone?”

This response can go a few different ways, depending on how you identify now and how badly you want to shock your extended family. A personal favorite of mine is “I have a starting 5 right now but we are always scouting for new talent” This is particularly funny because my extended family knows this is anything but true. A little self-depreciating humor can liven up the sad situation. If you are a woman you should tell your aunt Susan that you intend for your eggs to dry up and be a spinster for the rest of your life. Inform her that since you are 22 and haven’t locked a man down yet that this is your only option.

Another great option that is becoming less and less available as society becomes more progressive is to a) come out of the closet.

b) End up dating someone outside of your strict religious/ethnic community. 

Both reactions will be hilarious if applicable to your family. 

Situation 2: “What are you going to school for/what are your plans for after you graduate”

If you are getting a real degree, like something in the STEM field just say engineering. Most people asking that question won’t understand your smart people astro-physics talk. Take it easy on them.

If you are in Carlson (The UMN business school), we all know your degree doesn’t mean anything important, but your family doesn’t! So, just do what you do best, talk about yourself! Your extended family hasn’t seen you in a while and want to hear about how important and successful you will be. You can kill two birds with one stone here. 

If you have a liberal arts degree just be honest, you are screwed. You will either be the CEO of a large company or end up asking people what type of creamer they want in their non-fat venti latte; but, probably be asking people about the latte. 

If you are trying to get your MRS degree in school, you will already have a productive report to tell aunt Susan and the advice in situation 1 does not apply. 

Situation 3: Family alcohol consumption.

For some families, self-medication is required, but in all situations, it is encouraged! If you are back home from your first semester of freshman year establish dominance by shot gunning a beer right as you walk into the living room. It allows everyone know that you are young and there to party.

If you are a sophomore-junior bring your own box of Franzia. Although it isn’t the classiest, you are being frugal by not deepthroating the 50 dollar bottle of pinot grigio your mom brought as a housewarming gift. 

If you are a senior you know by now you need to just get high as possible before you eat the pie. 

Situation 4: Politics.

This one can be tricky depending on how easily triggered your family members get. If you have families on both sides of the political spectrum a classic “build the wall” or “taxation is theft” always sparks a conversation. If you want to let your family know how progressive you are talk about that student group you are part of where everyone smells bad and has greasy hair. You know, that one that is talking about seizing the means of production and calling everyone with a slightly different opinion than you a fascist. Just tell them that we haven’t tried real communism yet.