Your holiday family dinner survival guide

Here are 5 strategies to cope with a big family gathering this year

By D. Watkins

Editor at Large

Published November 23, 2017 11:00AM (EST)

 (Salon/Peter Cooper/Getty Images)
(Salon/Peter Cooper/Getty Images)

It’s holiday season! You know, that time of year where you get to see all of the family members that you haven’t seen since last holiday season. There will be grandmas with baked pies, grandpas with ancient war stories, uncles who laugh at their own jokes before you get a chance to understand them, that great-aunt who thinks you're still 17 even though you are 32 and remind her of your age every year, plus too many plates of food stuffed in your face to breathe as everyone stares at you waiting for your opinion on how great their home-cooked meals are and why they should quit their current job and become a chef at some four-star fusion restaurant. Sound familiar?

Every year, my family force-feeds each other food, booze and stories from my childhood until I explode. And I’m extremely thankful for all of them. However, recovering from the damages the next day isn’t always fun, so today on The Salon 5 I’m going to teach you how to survive your holiday dinner.

What you celebrate, your race or your ethnic background, doesn’t really matter because family is family and can be equally loving and annoying across the board. So I’m here to give you the skills necessary for surviving these big year-end dinners.

Here's how to duck your uncle’s jokes, how to smile while eating disgusting macaroni and cheese, why you should never, ever, under any circumstances take a person to meet your family at the holidays on a first date, why it’s so important to have four or five exit strategies and basically everything else you need to know.

Watch, learn and thank me later.

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By D. Watkins

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. Watkins is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoirs “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America” and "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir," as well as "We Speak For Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress." His new book, "Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments," is out now.

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