Escaping Family During the Holidays

  • The holidays bring out the worst in people

    It may be fun to catch up with Uncle Joe and your grandparents this Thanksgiving, but after 45 minutes you will be ready to check yourself (or them) into an asylum. It’s OK, though—luckily MainStreet is here to provide you with some cunning ways to get rid of them as soon (and as cheaply) as possible. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    The mall
  • The mall

    Loud children? Senile, xenophobic grandparents? Get them to pile into the family mini-van and take a multi-generational trek to the mall. This will give you the time and space to put any finishing touches on the turkey dinner. You can boost the odds of them actually heeding your suggestion by giving coupons or a discount card of some kind — if you have a Barnes & Noble membership card, surrender it to them. Or mention a sale going on at Abercrombie, Hollister or wherever it is that young people buy clothes these days. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    The hot tub
  • The hot tub

    If your family’s compound is fortunate enough to have a functioning hot tub, or if you have a home large enough to be referred to as a “compound,” congrats — you have a nicer home than I did growing up. But seriously, feel free to invite especially grating extended family members to take a relaxing soak in the hot tub. Provide towels, music and then disappear. Discreetly check for signs of life from time to time, though. This article isn’t literally about “getting rid of” anyone in your family. Although I know a guy. Photo Credit: Getty Images
  • Bars

    Dispatch the of-age members of your family to the local watering hole. Thanksgiving weekend is typically one of the highest volume times of year for pub fiends. Be safe, though, and assign a designated driver. According to one legal expert, “Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the DUI season.” DUI arrests are reportedly at a high point between the Thanksgiving holiday and the close of New Year’s weekend. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Family portraits
  • Family portraits

    Have you seen the new unemployment numbers? Get an out-of-work art major or bargain-priced caricaturist to do group family portraits. This way, all of the most annoying members of your family will be forced to stand still for a long period of time. Unless you want to be stuck there with them, we suggest that in advance you order a life-size cut-out poster of yourself that can be used as a stand-in. Enjoy your fleeting moment of freedom. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Gingerbread houses
  • Gingerbread houses

    The key to getting the most out of this activity is insisting that your family assemble the entire ginger bread house from scratch. You must forbid them from buying a kit, insisting that such measures would represent the “easy way out.” Between acquiring the materials necessary, the baking and actually building the gingerbread house, your extended family annoyances could be preoccupied for days. When it’s finished, even if it looks hideous and unfit for human consumption, provide words of encouragement. Tell them it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. Hopefully they’ll be so pleased that they commit to doing it again next year… and the year after. Photo Credit: terren
    Video Games & Arcades
  • Video Games & Arcades

    Maybe your kids are all grown and moved out, or you don’t have any kids. Nevertheless, if you’re playing host this holiday season, and kids are going to be at your house, it pays to invest in a video game system. Buy something used on eBay, set it up in the basement, but be sure you have at least four controllers and at least one racing game and one first person shooter. The kids will disappear for hours at a time, only emerging to grab snacks and quickly retreat to their game cave. There’s no need to check on them down there. In fact, it’s best to stay away, lest you distract them for a second and cause them to lose a life. They’ll never forgive you. If you don’t want to buy a system, send them to an arcade with $20 each. They should be good for a few hours, but in terms of ROI, the game system is the best bet. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Movie theaters
  • Movie theaters

    Matinees are cheaper than regular evening showings — use this bit of advice to get them out of the house sooner rather than later. Also provide showtimes and mention a few films likely to strike their fancy. Example: Mentioning New Moon, that movie about suburban vampires, will render any teenage girl catatonic. Similarly, mentioning anything other than New Moon will probably do the trick for teenage guys, so long as it has guns or spacecraft in it. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    “The silence game”
  • “The silence game”

    This one, mainly for kids, is admittedly old-school, and may not work at all in cynical 2009.  But it’s worth a try. Whoever stays silent the longest gets a prize, such as a free movie ticket or gingerbread house materials… Photo Credit: Getty Images
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