style girlfriend girl talk

Hiding from your family at the holidays

How to stylishly slip away


Can’t live with ‘em, can’t get a ride from the airport without ‘em

The holidays are here, and for most of us, the season’s not complete without at least a short trip home. Unless you and your parents still live in the same town, that means you’re soon facing some inescapable, “can’t go back to my place at the end of the night” family time. We’re talking, lots and lots of family time. Like a frozen orange juice can of family time. Concentrated, intense, unrelenting family time.

While of course you love your folks (well, hopefully you do), you and your parents haven’t co-habitated since high school, and it probably wasn’t a peaceful existence then either. After the jump, a few strategies on keeping your cool during the holidays by hiding from the family you love:

Use a pet as cover.

When feelings of claustrophobia set in, volunteer to take the dog out for a walk. And make it a long one. You can easily claim the need for extra exercise at the holidays for both you and Fido; just pat your belly and mumble something about “pie…so much pie.” The dog just went out? Doesn’t matter, take him again. Don’t have a dog? Steal the neighbor’s.

Pack a looming deadline.

Family traditions can wait for work. Offer to take on a big project at your job that you can complete remotely. Maybe it’s a deck for a big presentation…no matter that said-presentation isn’t actually on the calendar yet. Why put off til tomorrow (or next month) what you can do today? Even better, save up a tedious task like expense reports for an end of year purge. That’s hours of mindless work you can complete in your childhood bedroom! Catch up on Breaking Bad while accounting for company car rides taken in August (just remember to wear headphones). This escape is foolproof; your parents will be proud they’ve raised such a hard worker, and you’ll get some peace and quiet.

Exploit your parents’ Luddite tendencies.

If sequestering yourself in a quiet part of your house doesn’t work – if, in fact, there is no quiet part of your house – make a plan to GTFO. Discreetly disable your parents’ WiFi so you have “no choice” but to retreat to the nearest Starbucks to get the work above done. Or to, y’know, browse your Tumblr dashboard and poke around Pinterest. Whatever. You’re most likely the one that set their network up in the first place, so just remember to “fix” it after you’ve gotten your much-needed me time. Say, on the day you leave.

Cloister yourself in the kitchen.

Offer to make something exotic for the big family meal. This move has multiple benefits. The family members who usually cook will be grateful for the help, and you’ll be able to excuse yourself to “focus on the turducken” or whatever it is you decide to make. If you really can’t take the heat, you can – literally – get out of the kitchen. Just “realize” you’ve forgotten nearly every ingredient in the dish you’ve promised to prepare. You can run all over town in search of fresh nutmeg, truffle butter or octopus meat (the more complicated the recipe, the better).

Do some good.

If you’re going to be a terrible family member, you might as well be a decent human being. While you’re home, sign up to serve meals at a soup kitchen, sing carols at a nursing home, or deliver presents to lower-income families. You’ll make a difference, and have a reason to leave the house when your father sets in on his vaguely racist Fox News diatribes. Everybody wins! Except for Romney – nobody likes that guy.

Get a little drunk.

Kick off the giving season a little early by treating yourself to a small bottle of good liquor before you head homewards. You know the size – bigger than a flask, smaller than a handle; so long as it fits in your purse, you’re good to go. Carry it with you, topping off your eggnog, morning coffee and hot chocolate with some sizzurp. It’s not alcoholism when you’re on vacation. Which, technically, this time is supposed to be.

…Easy, right? I’ll be back next week to enjoy some quality (hiding) time with my family in Wisconsin. Happy Holidays!