It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Unfortunately for many of us, all of those deep fried turkey faces and iced gravy drums come at a price: having to spend time around that mangy group of creatures you call a family. But don’t fear, you shivering, nude snowflake: we’ve got you covered. Just follow our tried-and-true tips.

1. Avoid topics you know will start a fight.

Everybody’s family is weird: some uncles are voting for Donald Trump, some uncles are covered in a layer of dense fur designed to protect them from the elements. Regardless, if you know that politics will be a contentious issue, stick to things everybody can agree on, like knocking shit over in the middle of the night.

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2. Don’t judge your family’s lifestyle choices. The fact that you moved to the city doesn’t make you superior to them.

This is an important one, you performative urban dick. If you treat your relatives like they’re literal garbage can-dwelling rodents content to live in society’s alleys, they’ll treat you like somebody who doesn’t appreciate that they moved from their native deciduous forest habitat so you could go to a good suburban school. Besides, they’re not rodents; they’re procyonidae. It’s stenciled right over the fireplace.

3. Don’t make passive aggressive comments about eating and manners.

Are they technically omnivores? Yes. Is the fact that they eat meat gross? Also yes. It seems wrong. But you’re guests in their house, and right now, you’re just going to have to deal with watching them eat piles of discarded lunchmeat with their creepy little hands.

4. Humor them by engaging in their hobbies.

You normally like city things, like Yelping about concerts and wondering where the train is. But you’re a guest. It won’t kill you to join the family in dousing a piece of edible vegetation in a shallow pool, or the traditional midnight worm hunt.

5. Do not shake a can full of coins at them.

This is just common sense; families hate the sound of a can full of shaking coins. Nobody is sure why, but it’s a great way to get your dad to run screaming into the middle of a busy road, like Aunt Kathy did during the tragic Thanksgiving 2011 Incident.

6. Don’t pet them backwards.

It feels weird to them. They don’t like it.

Always pet your family in the direction of growth of their guard hairs.

7. Don’t plan on stealing one of their very cute babies.

Your family gives birth in the spring, anyway, and by Thanksgiving, the young go off on their own.

8. Always thank your hosts for the effort they made to feed and house you.

This is basic politeness that takes on extra moral weight with your family, since they only live an average of 1.8 to 3 years in the wild.

9. Be on the lookout for signs of rabies and distemper.

It’s uncomfortable, especially during the festive holiday season, but it’s something everybody must always be serious about. In your family, symptoms of rabies manifest in a number of ways. Be on the lookout for paralysis of the hind limbs and swallowing mechanisms, unusual aggressiveness, lack of coordination, and walking as though their feet are making contact with a very hot surface. Family members showing signs of rabies must be immediately and humanely killed.

10. Take off the lid of the trash can before you leave.


Contact the author at erin@jezebel.com.