Ho ho ho – what did you call me?

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We all have visions of that Norman Rockwell holiday, but the fact is that oftentimes the holidays are not just about enjoyment, but also survival.

As the holiday season approaches, it’s good to get a little ahead of the curve. Your family may be related by blood, but that doesn’t mean that any blood should be shed around the dinner table. Here’s my little guide to surviving the holidays:

Guard the flow – Of alcohol that is; keep Aunt Lucy from getting too loopy. After a few cocktails people tend to get mouthy, which always leads to trouble.

Kids – They’re bored and rolling their eyes, which means one thing: they’re about to antagonize each other into a fight. The worst mistake you can make is forcing them to spend quality time with their distant or maybe not even that distant relatives. Let’s face it: you’re barely interested and they’re not interested at all. Allow them to go in the other room and hide, rent a movie and bring on the video games. You can catch up with the cousins without being in a war zone of, “He’s looking at me,” and, “She’s breathing like that.”

Paper plates – Normally such a no-no but believe me, that fine china is going to look even finer sitting in the china cabinet all clean and shiny when it comes time to do the dishes. Nothing is easier than standing at the head of the table with a giant garbage bag and throwing that ginormous mess away. Let your mother-in-law sneer.

Delegation – Stop trying to do it all. If someone offers to bring something, don’t you dare say, “Just bring yourself.” Let them bring their world-famous [fill in the blank] and make sure you make a big deal of how awesome it is, because nothing is more wonderful than help around the holidays.

If all else fails, use Jewish guilt; it works on everyone. Spread it around, throw it on all of ‘em. You may not be Jewish like me, but don’t worry; it’s non-denominational.

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