Operation: don’t die at dinner, I dare you

Emma Shannon, Associate Editor

The minute #spookyszn ends, winter break begins. As soon as I can date my papers with an “11” instead of a “10,” I go from zero to screaming Mariah Carey in the car (which I will refer to as my sleigh for the next three months) faster than Party City can stock Santa hats.

I love winter break. I love fluffy blankets and mugs of hot chocolate and scaring small children by jumping out of snow banks. I love that I’m not expected to haul myself out of bed at 6:30 a.m. like any neurons in my brain could possibly be firing yet.

Unfortunately, there’s one part of winter break that I don’t love. It goes something like this:
Me, sitting down to eat Christmas dinner: “Hey, could you please pass the-”
Random family member I’ve never seen before in my life: “So, where are you going to college?”

So that all Dulaney students may enjoy the best parts of winter break, I am here to help navigate the trickier waters known as “spending time with your weird, slightly neurotic family.” With these guidelines, may your holiday be merry, bright and free from familicide.

Your highest priority is finding the brightest, tackiest, most obnoxious holiday sweater possible. Not a cute little thing with reindeer or snowflakes, but an honest-to-God, ugly holiday sweater. I’m talking clashing colors, cheesy quotes, cheetah prints and mismatched patterns and textures.

This sweater is your new best friend. The Max to your Grinch, the Hermey the Elf to your Rudolph. It’s the perfect conversation starter, meaning you don’t have to suffer through 20 minutes of talking about the weather (cold and dry with a chance of boredom, thank you very much) with your third cousin twice removed.

A couple general rules: avoid the drunk aunt at all costs. She may look fun, but she’s not. Her idea of a good time is trash-talking her boss and yelling at her adorable little toddler, who’s just trying to make new friends.

Speak to the vegan cousin, and her brother- also known as “the Disappointment”-for ten minutes each. Do not speak to their parents. If you do, you’ll only hear about how hard it was for their third child (who’s not even present because she’s too busy saving starving children in Africa) to choose between Yale and Princeton. Guess what, Karen, nobody cares!

There’s one bit of good news: your sweet grandma will be there. The bad news is she’ll spend the entire evening with your other super annoying grandma, discussing sewing techniques and scone recipes. Both of them think they’re the sweet one. And their scones suck.

If you take nothing else from this article, take this: you may not leave the house. You may not hide in your room. You may not scream or curse out your elderly neighbors.

…except in the following scenario. While conversing about dropping out of high school with your cool uncle, there will be a knock on the front door. You’ll open it to find a strange man you’ve never seen before. Your mom will scream and drop her wine glass, because it’s her husband – your father, who’s been absent for the past 17 years. He’ll apologize for being late and make a beeline for the chips. At this point, and this point only, it’s safe to sulk in your room for the next six days before school starts, wishing vehemently for winter break to never happen again. Ever.

Happy holidays.