It’s December, which means a few things. Netflix has just released a new movie starring Vanessa Hudgens, Mariah Carey is dominating the charts, and soon you’ll (probably) be going back home. If that’s the case, you’ll need a Christmas survival guide.
Going home for the holidays can be great, or awful, or a confusing mix of every emotion ever felt by humans. Fun! It seems like even the best families still have the token racist uncle, and real talk: going back to your home town can really, really suck.
When you go home for the holidays and your mom brags about you in front of your whole family pic.twitter.com/HN9TFdMcTO
— jephph (@notgeoffrey_) December 16, 2016
Sometimes it feels like everything’s changed since you moved away, and sometimes it’s still the same one-horse town you escaped from all those years ago. No matter where home is for you, running into your high school frenemy or fielding well-meaning questions about your love life is almost unavoidable.
Luckily, we’ve put together a totally helpful Christmas survival guide, full of tips and tricks on how to deal with going home for the holidays.
#1 Find The Wi-Fi Password
Wi-Fi will be your lifeline (we mean, more than it normally is) when you’re home for Christmas, so get this locked down ASAP.
Even if you’re going back to your childhood home, never assume: ask your mum if the password is still written on the fridge. Before you ask your cousin how their new job’s going, ask for their Wi-Fi password. Don’t even talk to your aunt before you’re hooked up to her internet and looking at pictures of dogs in Christmas hats.
This is a very important step in the Christmas survival guide.
Especially for anyone whose home is in rural Australia, where the phone reception simply refuses to exist unless you’re with Telstra.
#2 Don’t Open Tinder
Whatever you do, do not open Tinder. Or any other dating app.
Going down that path will only bring you pain as you swipe through a long line of questionable teen crushes, BFFs you slowly lost contact with and family friends in their post-divorce wild phase.
Do not, and we cannot stress this enough, forget to bring your own drinks.
Unless you want to be sipping on G&Ts all day with Grandma (actually, maybe do that), bring something with you. You don’t want to be stuck without your favourite beverages on a day when so little is going your way.
Happy holidays to all: Here is my recipe for dairy-free, sugar-free, vegan eggnog: Bourbon.
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) December 23, 2015
#4 Eat Yourself Into A Food Coma
It’s a scientific fact that the best thing about Christmas is the food. Today of all days, you deserve to go overboard on the cheese wheel, Chrissy ham and your mum’s homemade Pavlova.
Whether you have a nap or take the opportunity to get some peace and quiet while everyone else naps, the post-Christmas lunch food coma is a blessing.
You can’t explain to your grandma why you got another tattoo if your mouth is full of food, and that’s Christmas survival guide 101.
#5 Dress To Impress
It can be tempting to wear your daggiest, and therefore comfiest, clothes after you’ve wined and dined on your Christmas Day feast. But don’t be tricked! There’s one simple reason why you should always put on a nice outfit whenever you step outside your childhood home: vengeance.
You never know when you’re going to run into someone from high school. “I’m great, thanks for asking! My job is stressful but I love it, it’s so rewarding,” you’ll casually drop in your finest straight-fire look.
— Bustle (@bustle) December 12, 2016
#6 Have An Escape Plan
Honestly, none of us have it figured out yet. But that won’t stop your Year 10 science teacher asking what you’re doing next year when you run into each other on the street. There’s no winning with boomers, so get creative.
Any tree can be a Christmas tree if you yell at your family around it.
— Snorklhuahua (@weinerdog4life) December 12, 2012
Faking a phone call, asking about their dog or pretending you’re needed in the kitchen are all great ways to escape an awkward conversation. Don’t be above just yeeting it out of the room with no explanation. Is it mean? Maybe. But as Michael Scott said, sometimes “the ends justify the mean”. Which brings us to…
#7 Watch All The Christmas Episodes Of Your Favourite TV Shows
Some people will lie to your face and say that going home for Christmas is a chance to reconnect with old school friends. But the truth is, your BFFs during this time will be Michael Scott, Leslie Knope, Liz Lemon and Joey Tribbiani.
Christmas specials are like little gifts from your favourite TV shows to you — one episode a year where the characters come together to overcome trivial festival drama and learn the true spirit of the holidays. They’re endlessly watchable, and make you believe, if only for a moment, that your trip home doesn’t have to be awful.
We recommend “A Benihana Christmas” from The Office (season 3, episode 10), “Citizen Knope” from Parks and Recreation (season 4, episode 10), “Christmas Special” from 30 Rock (season 3, episode 6) and “Marge Be Not Proud” from The Simpsons (season 11, episode 9). You’re welcome, and merry Christmas.
Going home for the holidays doesn’t have to be a hot mess. If you play your Christmas survival guide right, it’s a time to kick back, eat free meals and watch The Knight Before Christmas three times in a row.
(Lead image: cottonbro / Pexels)
Alana is the staff writer on AWOL who thinks the best way to travel is by taking spontaneous detours and stopping at every local bakery to try the cakes. She writes a lot about Australian TV, Big Things, cursed food, and theme parks. You can follow her on Instagram @alana.dotcom. It’s mostly dogs she meets along the way.