A Guide to Surviving the Holidays

The holidays are here! Time to celebrate fun-filled days like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years! Time to eat food, play games, open presents, and play in the snow! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  That is, until something annually occurring happens. You have to… talk to your relatives!Now, your family is wonderful and loves you, and you probably love them too, but almost everyone knows how boring, awkward, or hard to answer your relatives’ questions can be. How is school going? Do you still play piano? How’s sports?

It can sometimes be hard to find good answers to those questions, but sometimes you can have interesting conversations with your relatives. If you are someone who always ends up muttering “Good”, “Okay”, or “I guess”, don’t worry! This guide will provide tips and example answers for the questions you find so difficult to answer.

How’s school?

This one you may have heard a lot, and some people dread when it comes up in conversation. But what is an annoying question to you can help your relatives a lot, especially if they don’t spend a lot of time with you. Instead of muttering “It’s okay” and walking away, give a better explanation. Talk about big assignments or projects coming up, or the things you like about school. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation. Just saying something like, “It’s great! We’re doing a fun project in writing” works.

How’s sports?/ What sport do you play now?

This one is more complicated than the last. Not everyone plays sports, but most people can answer this question. If you play a sport, it’s easy. Just start with the sport(s) you play and say what sport you are doing this season. You can also add something big coming up, like a tournament or game. If you used to play a certain sport, make sure your relative knows you’re done playing it. If you don’t play sports, simply state that, and maybe add in what other activities you do for fun.

Wow! I can’t believe how tall you are now!

This one is tricky and difficult to answer. It’s not a question, but you still are expected to give an answer. Instead of smiling and nodding awkwardly, say something enthusiastic like “I know! I feel like I’ve hit a growth spurt!” or “Thanks! It’s nice to be taller now.” it may be hard to answer this way but it is a perfectly reasonable way to respond to the “question.”

Embarrassing stories or questions

Some relatives you haven’t seen in forever might say things like “Last time I saw you, you were just up to my knee!” or “I remember when you were just a cute chubby little baby, and now look how big you are!” They might even tell embarrassing stories from when you were little. Even though you might want to run and hide, don’t panic! When an embarrassing story or question gets thrown your way, stay calm and act as natural as you can. This is a good shield to use: “Oh yeah— *cough cough* —excuse me… so, how’s your dog?” Changing the subject is a good way to deflect embarrassment.

What instrument do you play now?/ How’s (certain instrument) going?

If you used to play an instrument and have stopped playing it, make to inform your relatives on that, especially if you now play a different one. If you do play an instrument, tell them what song you are working on. If that instrument is handy wherever you are, maybe even play them a piece from it.

So there you are! Those are the top five questions that are asked at the holidays, and the tips and examples you can use to answer them! If a missed a question that you frequently get asked, come up with your own answer using the tips and/or example answers from the other questions. Happy Holidays!