1.       Alcohol: This is a slippery slope, so you’d better know your limits and your reactions.  The good thing is that alcohol can make you more social.  The bad thing is that you might forget to use your edit button and ask grandma about the open sores on her legs - and then compare your deadlift shins to hers.  Of course, having a few drinks can also knock you out, and this is a good thing.  Sleeping through a family gathering is highly recommended.  Although you may look lazy and disinterested, it’s better than starting a conga line and dry humping your aunt (or uncle).

2.       Bring a child: Even if you don’t have a child, you can always borrow or rent one for a few days.  There are plenty of parents who would pay you to take their children for a few days of peace and quiet.  Now, of course, there will be questions but most of these can be easily answered with a few words and a cute smile from the new child.  If you are a parent, having a young child with you is perfect.  The elders will swoon around them and shower them with affection. This is your cue to sit on the nearest chair (never the couch…people will sit next to you) and pretend to give a damn about the Detroit Lions.

3.       Sit at the kiddie table: This has been in my arsenal and always will be.  This ensures that you will avoid all adult conversation during dinner.  Because there are lots of old people (that smell gross) at these gatherings the conversations are always about people who died, death, dying and bowel movements.  At the kiddie table, only the latter is discussed, and with much more enthusiasm.  Plus, no one cares when you don’t eat your vegetables (i.e. some kind of green casserole thing).

4.       Never show up: If you have two families in the same town (or relatively close), this is easy to pull off.  But you must have an understanding spouse.  First, call your parents and tell them that you’d love to come but your in-laws are demanding that you spend the whole day there.  Then say how much it means to your spouse, blah, blah.  Play the role of a good husband/wife.  Next, have your spouse call her parents and spout the same garbage, blaming your parents for being selfish pricks.  Finally, enjoy the only peaceful time in your life with your family, as they will be eternally grateful to you for your devious plan for independence.  Now if you’re single and don’t have a family, no one really cares about you anyway.

5.       Latch on with the cool kids: As with high school, this is a surefire way to make it through any social situation without incident.  Cool kids (and adults) have Kool Rays and a Douche Shield that prevent the nosey aunt or prying grandfather from entering the Awesome Lair.  Now if you don’t know where the Awesome Lair is, you are probably not awesome.  So stay out.  But if you can spot it and get in it, cocoon yourself and stay there as long as possible.  No bathroom breaks.  Usually this area is around the drinks, so you’ll be able to have some cocktails while basking in peace.

6.       Religion and politics: This is a huge faux pas at parties, but not if you can set the bomb and leave.  This is easy.  After a few hours casually start a conversation about Obama or Catholicism (or Islam!) amongst a large group of people.  These people must be drinking to get the full effect, but a sober debate can also turn ugly.  There is nothing funnier than seeing people fight over the merits of a peaceful religion.  Once you set the wheels in motion, excuse yourself and watch the fireworks.  Again, sit in chair and care about Detroit Lions.

7.        Drugs: This is a last resort, but only because of liability. If ever there was a time to take Xanax, Vicodin or whatever else you have left over from various surgeries, this is it.  Spending time in a haze is always positive.  I do not recommend doing this with the aid of alcohol, unless you’re awesome.  Then, by all means…

I’m going to end this article with one of the greatest EFS Q/A posts ever, written by a friend of mine.  This has nothing to do with Thanksgiving or Christmas, but very relevant for family parties.  Enjoy!


“Okay. So last night I went to a family get together for my Uncle’s birthday. Now keep in mind, I loathe family parties, and my family in general. My grandmother is old and crusty, my Aunt Terry never fails to babble incessantly about her boring work as a computer tech, and her husband seems to favor my ear over any other with his "entertaining" stories of the adventures he and his friends used to come upon when he was my age.

Well, my mother and I get to the party, and after about an hour, I realize that this party is going to follow the precedent of all the others - it's going to be boring as hell. As I sat in a chair at a table all by myself, my only company being a bowl of stale buttered popcorn, I glanced over to where the beverages were and my eye happened to catch a case of beer. "What the hell?" I thought to myself. I'm going to be here for the next five hours, I'm bored, and as everyone is well aware, a boring situation can quickly turn into fun when you're piss-ass drunk. So with this in mind, I moseyed over to the beer and proceeded to get shitfaced. No one really took notice, as my family is a bunch of goddamned drunks who love to share. I don't know what it is, but for some reason when my family gets together, everyone suddenly turns Irish and the liquor flows like water. Well, whatever. I took advantage of this and started chugging beer after beer. After beer four, I started to feel plenty good. My cousin came over and we started talking and after about 10 minutes we decided to grab a couple and head up to her room (it was her house).

Anyway, my cousin and I are up in her room, pounding beers, and surprisingly I'm having a pretty good time. Conversation somehow takes a turn to her ex-boyfriend and how big of a jerk he was. She begins to tell me how she thinks I'm a good guy, and how she would like to be with someone like me. Well, that's great. I start to begin to think that she's a LITTLE more drunk then I originally thought, as these are some pretty weird remarks she's making. Whatever. A little while later, I'm still drinking, and the conversation is starting to die down. She starts looking at me, and gets up and sits right next to me. Well, at this point I felt a little uncomfortable, as I was getting a weird vibe from her - a vibe that one cousin should not be getting from another cousin. I start spouting off random stuff to break the awkwardness of silence, and as I'm in mid-sentence, she leans over and kisses me. Not one of those, "Hey it's nice to see you" kisses, but an "I'm putting my tongue in your mouth and then I'm going to put it under your ballsack" kisses. At first I was taken aback, as I’m sure you would expect, and I pulled away. I stared at her, and she back at me, and then once again she leaned over and kissed me. This time, however, I let her do it. She’s pretty hot, a good kisser, and I was drunk. Yada yada yada, I got up and left and had a wicked hangover the next morning.

My problem is, I know she is my cousin and stuff and family is supposed to be close...but I let her borrow my Eyehategod CD, and when I was up in her room I saw that the stupid bitch broke it. Should I make her buy me a new one, or just let it be?”