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How to Get Through Every Awkward Holiday Situation

‘Tis the season!

How to Get Through Every Awkward Holiday Situation
Maya Fuhr

It may be coined as the most wonderful time of the year, but oftentimes the holiday season can feel…a little bit…awkward. In theory, it all sounds so wonderful: the decorations, the food, the music, the movies—those are the parts I love. I even start dreaming about them sometime around August. But once the actual planning starts and all those party invites roll in? I flash back to the painful amounts of small talk (or enraging political talk) and get anxious over gifting. Yes, the holiday season is, most definitely, awkward.

But is there a way to get through it and maintain that magical feeling I truly crave? That’s what I keep asking myself as Thanksgiving approaches (which means Friendsgivings and multiple ugly sweater parties will be approaching, too). The answer I’ve landed on is really quite simple: Stop saying yes to things that won’t make you happy! And maybe set a few ground rules for yourself beforehand, too.


You Don’t Have to Go to Everything

“No thank you.” That’s easy enough to say. “Unfortunately, I can’t make it.” That one is, too. You shouldn’t feel pressured into hanging out with old pals you no longer have anything in common with, and you *don’t* have to weirdly shuffle around and cling to your closest coworker at some makeshift office thing. The days of FOMO are over; politely declining just means more time to do what you’ll actually enjoy. Like watching Elf while drinking hot chocolate.


Think Up Topics You’d Actually Like to Talk About

You know what they say—a little planning can go a long way! Arrive at whatever gathering you’re going to prepped with some funny stories about your new job, a trip you recently took, or even a new show you’re really into. Not into the spotlight or trying to avoid talking about certain subjects? You can be the one to ask a lot of questions. Or bring a game! Everyone can play, and no personal conversations are required. If you do get stuck in an awkward convo, ask yourself something like “What would Beyoncé do in this situation?” And try to find the humor in it. Just tell yourself that any nosy Qs will make for a great chapter in your novel/a hilarious essay/a juicy group text to your friends later on!


Keep It Simple When It Comes to Presents

Who doesn’t like candles? Or wine? Or Netflix or Visa gift cards? A good gift doesn’t have to be personal, especially if you don’t really know the person. In fact, just think about all those times when someone tried—and failed—to figure out what you’d enjoy. Now the only thing you’ll have to stress about? That half-surprised, half-happy face you’ll have to make as everyone watches you open your presents.


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