After last year's guide, I thought it might be time for an update.
And no, these are not tips for surviving your first Boston winter or how to become "Queen of the Slopes" during your first ski trip to New Hampshire -- I'm talking about surviving your first Christmas with your white in-laws.
5. Have an escape plan.
Not just physically, but conversationally. So when your husband's Aunt Ginger corners you and begins her "20 Questions" drill to find out why you haven't popped out triplets when you've been married for 4 weeks, instead of screaming: "MIND YOUR OWN @#!*&$# UTERUS!" at the top of your lungs, you can simply deflect and say: "Man this cube of cheese is good! I think I'll have another! Pardon me."
4. If you can cook, BRING IT...
Word on the street is I caused a bit of a "ruckus" one holiday when my North Carolina Sweet Potato Casserole went head-to-head with some one else's sweet potato dish that consisted of drained canned sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. Now I have nothing against Bruce's Candied Yams, but you can guess which recipe relatives were emailing me for after the fact. I'm not bragging, I'm just saying...
3. ...And if you can't cook, LEAVE IT.
You have one chance to make a first impression, especially when it comes to your cooking. When it comes to holiday gathers, how many of you try to ascertain who brought or made which dish before putting the food on your plate? Go on ahead, raise your hands...I'll wait.
Don't be that person whose food everyone avoids because it gave them the runs last year. If the culinary arts isn't your strength, just stick to something that's hard to mess up like a bottle of Two Buck Chuck.
2. Bring your own playlist.
If your in-laws are part of hip-hop's allegedly, largely white audience, you might want to make sure the word "n*gga" isn't repeatedly blasted over the sound system throughout the evening. Because having a conversation with your grandmother-in-law or your 5 year-old niece while 50 Cent is in the background rapping "...hoes down, G's up I see Xzibit in the cut, hey n*gga roll that weed up" is just...well...awkward. I mean do you want to explain those lyrics to a 5 year-old during the family Christmas gathering? Me neither. Problem solved.
1. Smile and nod...or at least just nod.
Maybe you don't understand why Cousin Bucky believes the President is the antichrist, or why Aunt Melba's dog has its own seat, name card, and place setting at the grown ups table while you and your husband are still stuck at the kid's table. Maybe no one told you that between every round of Yankee Swap everyone bursts into the Notre Dame fight song or Uncle Amos insists on asking about your "Oriental" friends he met at your wedding when he should be asking about your Korean friends. The bright side is you can still be remembered as the pleasant, always smiling in-law, but in your mind think whatever you want!
Safe travels to everyone making their way to be with friends and loved ones! Best wishes to all of you during this holiday season. Enjoy!