The sun’s out, Alexa Chung’s ditched her trenchoat in favour of a quirky sheer playsuit, and it’s getting worryingly close to FAMILY HOLIDAY TIME.
That time of the year when mum and/or dad blackmail you into spending a week in a villa in Marbella, or a caravan in St Ives, because you didn’t bother going home for Christmas, because you had better things to do, like anal sex, or the launch party for Kylie’s new Specsaver range.
Well you’ve gone and done it now! There’s no getting out of it. The flights are booked, the sun lotion’s bought, the money’s been changed down the local post office (even though you don’t NEED TO GO TO THE POST OFFICE MUM, just use a Monzo card! What’s a Monzo? Only the most popular new method for overseas transact- oh for fuck’s sake, never mind).
While family quality time is lovely, and not to be taken for granted, it can also, frankly, be like slowly pulling needles out from underneath your fingernails. So here’s our guide to surviving it!
Turn a blind eye to mild xenophobia
If your parents are the sort of parents who take pleasure on commenting on how ‘foreign’ and ‘weird’ everything looks, just don’t bother pulling them up on it. Now is not the time for a heated conversation about post-colonialism, not while mum’s on her third sangria.
Accept the fact that you will eat terrible food
Parents cannot choose restaurants. FACT. It’s 30/40 minutes of toddling down various humid cobbled alleys, to the point where you get so hungry that you’re ready to dive into whichever questionable tourist trapping culinary prospect pops up next. And usually, that ends up being steak frites for 11 euros and 99 cents.
Go on Grindr!
Now, we advise against going on Grindr during Christmas beause that’s bleak, but DEFINITELY DO IT on holiday. It’ll provide a welcome respite from the family, and you can get your end away. Also, Grindr in other countries is great – most other nations have a far better attitude towards sex than us emotionally stunted Brits. Happy, casual, friendly!
Again, a much more pleasurable experience than in the UK – cheaper, and also in continental Europe, they mostly just upend the bottle over the glass rather than measuring out shots. Being drunk will soften the blow on those infuriating family quirks, like your dad asking you for the fiftieth time why you don’t just move back home for a bit because it’s cheaper, and you can work at the garage down the road and save some money. BECAUSE I HAVE A LIFE, DAD! I DIDN’T ASK TO BE BORN! GOD!
Don’t get guilt-tripped into looking after younger siblings
If you have younger siblings, remember, you are not in ANY WAY obligated to look after them. It was your parents’ decision to have them, so they should be responsible for them. It’s their own fault.
Try to get your own room with your own bathroom
Actually sharing a ROOM with your parents is a surprisingly rare experience, and it’s rare for a reason – because you drive each other fucking insane. For everyone’s sake, try to be in a separate room.
Don’t go to ‘an attraction’
At some point in the trip, your family will feel compelled to go to ‘an attraction.’ This always happens. Whether it’s a water park, a National Trust Property, a statue in the middle of nowhere, a museum, or an Arts Council funded hand knitted freetrade gender-neutral bike shed, they will ALWAYS want to go to an attraction. And it’s always shit. An hour long queue, followed by a 20 minute tour, and then a gift shop that sells pot-pourri and those really expensive little plastic animals. Make an excuse and stay in the hotel and read Line Of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (a great holiday read).
Don’t be shellfish
Despite what we’ve just said, there is a virtue in just letting go. Just GO WITH IT. You’re on holiday! There’s no use in having pointless arguments about whether “billet” means ticket or bill (it means ticket). Just nod and smile and accept it, and you’ll have a far better time. If they want to go for shellfish and you don’t – just accept it. Don’t be shellfish!