A Teen’s Guide to Surviving Your Family During the Holidays

Let me start out by saying that I love my family. Really. But too much time with them can drive you crazy. My dad forces me to team up with him in video games and it’s super painful when he can’t figure out how to move and his character ends up stuck in a corner looking at the sky. My mom picks games and movies for “family time” and then once we’re all watching or playing, she sneaks away to another room to ride her spinning bike. And my little sister is convinced we’re all trying to poison her by, like, not rinsing the cereal bowls before we use them.

This is our last week of school before the two-week winter break. On one hand, I can’t wait for break. On the other hand, I’m not sure how I’m going to survive it. At least I have some experience. I mean, it’s not like this is the FIRST winter break I’ve ever spent with my family. Here are some things I’ve learned from other breaks that I hope will help me survive this one:

1. Know When and How Long You Can Hide

There’s a heater vent in our bathroom where I like to sit and watch YouTube videos on my phone. It’s nice and warm and I could probably sit there all day, except there are three problems: Sometimes people need to shower; even though it’s break, we have things to do; and if I hide on the heater vent TOO long, my parents freak out and I get my phone taken away. So it’s important to learn when I can hide and when I can’t. Here’s the important part: Knowing when I CAN’T hide helps to make sure I’m still allowed to hide when I CAN.

2. Get Out of the House

Did I mention my heater vent? When it’s cold outside, it can be hard to motivate. Sometimes nothing sounds good — not going out to a movie, or getting a Christmas tree, or going to the climbing gym, or even heading to grandma’s house for brunch. But once I’m actually *doing* these things, they usually turn out not to be so bad. It’s like getting in cold water: If you can force yourself to do it, once you’re in, it’s okay. (And doing these out-of-the-house things earns more time on the heater vent…)

3. Do Whatever You’re Doing

I know that if I wear airpods while picking out a Christmas tree, I will be K-I-L-L-E-D. It’s the same with playing Monopoly or taking the dogs for a walk. I know this sounds weird to say, but as hard as it is to actually do the thing you’re doing, it also makes them more survivable. Even Monopoly.

4. Choose Things to Do

When you DON’T choose things to do, your parents will choose things for you. That’s why it’s better to pick what you want to do and schedule it. Even if it’s a Minecraft tournament with friends!

I hope these tips help you make it through the holidays with your family!

By 13yo student and holiday survival enthusiast, Leif Sundem.