Does Holiday Hounding cause you extreme anxiety? During the trip home, are you already mentally preparing yourself for any and every conversation topic that might be hurled at you? Do you just want to stuff your face in peace without “adult” questions slowly crushing your soul? Have no fear: I’ve got a fairly fool proof plan to get through this two month long holiday season with your dignity intact. Hopefully.
What is “Holiday Hounding” you ask? Maybe we should begin with that. Holiday Hounding is a little term I made up (or maybe it already exists, who knows? Not me, obviously) to describe the bombardment of the questions you really don’t want to answer while attempting to reach food-coma paradise and pretending your responsibilities don’t exist.
(I really wanted to see how many Nick Miller quotes I could fit into this.)
I don’t know about the rest of you, but the only questions I like to be asked while at home for the holidays are:
- What television series should we binge watch next? (New Girl. Yes, again.)
- Can the cat sleep in your room? (Yes, I’ve kept her hostage with my love all day anyways.)
- Do you seriously want more pumpkin bread? (How dare you disrespect me like that. YES OF COURSE I WANT MORE PUMPKIN BREAD.)
As most college students know, the most emotionally crippling exam questions don’t happen during midterms and finals; they happen when your family decides to turn the dinnertime conversation towards the current events of your life they haven’t been privy to in the last few months. The exam is “life,” and the curve is not going to be in your favor.
With that said, I have deliberated over the best way to cheat your way through the inevitable, and I think I have come up with a solid defensive strategy to help get you through until New Year’s Eve. Just remember the 3 D’s, ladies and gentlemen: Deny, Divert, Devour.
This obvious strategy is a classic and is pretty commonly used. It’s also extremely easy to implement, literally just deny anything they throw at you that you can’t/don’t want to answer.
“How’s school going? Are you doing okay?”
“Hahaha yeah everything’s great! My stress level has been super low lately.”
Now before you read this and say “Well duh,” there are some key details you have to get right. For one, you have to be smooth about it. Do NOT answer too quickly, just ease into the denial. Remember, they can sense fear. The second challenge to this is that, like I mentioned, this is the oldest trick when it comes to interrogations and therefore easy to spot. That means if you’re going to rely solely on the denial tactic, you better start practicing your responses in the mirror, learn how to monitor your heart rate, and perfect your poker face. You have to really commit.
On its own, the Deny strategy is pretty weak, but paired with other tactics it can be a helpful tool. Which brings us to our next point.
This is another dodging tactic, but instead of taking the full blow yourself, as with the deny strategy, you can divert that force onto someone else, allowing you to slip away and recede back towards your quiet corner.
“So, you have any boys in your life these days?”
“Hahaha no, grandma. It’s been like three years now, you start sensing a pattern…BUT did you know Jake said the F word for the first time the other day? I know, so scandalous! He’s almost 15 so it’s about time right?!”
Thus grandma would then be sufficiently shocked; thoughts about your relationship life completely slipping her mind as she goes to hound said little brother instead about his new-found potty mouth. (Sorry, Jake.)
The key detail to make sure this tactic works is that the diversion you bring up has to be highly more attention grabbing that the current question being posed to you. Start your research early, get to know the family gossip ahead of time so you are prepared for any level of question that might come at you.
The third and final tactic is a last resort, “Sugar, we’re going down” kind of defense. If denial and diversions are not working in your favor and you feel the end closing in there is one last thing you can do.
Literally shove whatever food you have closest to into your mouth. All of it, as much as you can fit. DISCLAIMER: DO NOT CHOKE. That would be tragic. (Although choking effects would be extra convincing.)
Having a fistful of cranberry sauce in your mouth should effectively slow down any questioner, if not, instill a little bit of fear in their soul. This strategy is probably the single most effective in avoiding questions because you literally cannot answer, but due to the choking hazard it should definitely be left as a last resort.
So, that about sums up your new game plan for the holidays. Take some notes, start practicing now, really commit and have holiday cookies delivered to get through the holidays unscathed. Just remember the 3 D’s: Deny, Divert, and Devour.
Happy Holidays everyone. Best of luck.
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