Surviving Holidays When You Have a Toxic Family

Normally, avoiding people you do not get along with or who loudly blast opinions you don’t agree with is pretty easy, but during the holiday season, you might be forced to share space with these individuals. And when I say these individuals, yep, I mean family. Those relatives that make you wonder how in God’s green earth are you able to fall from the same family tree.

Whether Christmas at Mom’s forces you to sit across from your mansplaining Brother in Law or you have to make the yearly pilgrimage to see your not-so-sweet Grandma, you may be stuck with the unfortunate situation. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with insufferable relatives you can’t avoid, even if you are staying in the same house.

Sure you could stay home and rationalize self care and preservation but the truth is sometimes you just can’t get out of it! Sometimes we have to suck it up and deal. If you can’t come up with a good enough excuse not to make an appearance at the family holiday horror…I mean, party, then try one of these coping mechanisms instead:



Abandon Hope

This tip comes right from Oprah herself, and involves your own expectations. If you know going in that there are some less than reasonable family members, don’t expect them to have changed over the last year. By abandoning the expectation or hope that everything will be different, you can plan ahead and have some situation specific strategies for avoidance.

Bring a Friend

If you have a friend who is going solo and wants a look at some family drama, then bring him or her along for the ride. It will give you someone to talk to or escape with when the going gets rough. As an added bonus, they’ll be able to testify that your family is really as bad as you’ve said they are to the rest of your friends when you get home.

Plan an Escape Route

If you’re returning to your childhood home or to a home you know as well as your own, you know where the exits are. Decide on a route that will get you out and into the fresh air as swiftly as possible. If you are visiting an area that is walker friendly, take a walk; otherwise, make sure your car is parked where it won’t be blocked in and hamper your escape. Clever, I know.

Bring Alcohol

Not for yourself, for others! A few drinks could put even the most hostile adults in a better mood and make them easier to deal with. Don’t like alcohol? Bring chocolate instead! It’s a known mood elevator and the sugar will make everyone too sleepy to argue.


Remembering that ultimately, you don’t have to go anywhere you don’t want to (kinda) and taking the time to prepare some exit strategies and ways to avoid the most annoying members of the group entirely can help you cope this holiday season. Mom will be so proud!



More about Alicia Artista

STYLEWHIRL is a global lifestyle & fashion blog comprised of fashion tips, truth bombs and visual artistic expression meant to empower women of all ages and encourage positive change. Written and curated by its founder, STYLEWHIRL documents the life, style and travels of Alicia Artista. Alicia is a Mexican- American writer and on camera beauty expert represented by CESD TALENT in New York City. Alicia is currently a full time entrepreneur with over 20 years in the beauty, tv and film industry. She is now also a full time blogger. For full bio and classes with Alicia go to

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