Holiday Gathering Survival Guide

Bored at a Christmas Party, or dinner? Well we got a few cures for that.


You groan. You grimace in agony. You dread it.

And, no. I’m not talking about finals week or going to work after a long day at school.

I’m talking about, arguably, the most painful experiences of all.

Prolonged and uneventful holiday gatherings.

It’s not because you necessarily hate your family members or you hate spending time with them (or maybe it is- either way, no judgment). It’s just because you can only take so many kisses from Aunt Bertha. Or even worse, spending countless hours of staring at a clock tick back and forth with your only form of entertainment being answering all Grandpa Joe’s questions about your love life and why you have holes in your jeans.

Although most of the time you are forced to attend these events that make you want to pull your hair out, don’t worry. There’s a beacon of light on what seems to be a very dim horizon.

There are many things to do to keep you occupied during the very big gaps in your family soirees. These are, in my opinion, the best options to turn to either when bored out of your mind or to use as an escape from hearing about Uncle Bob’s bothersome rash.


Play Solitaire with yourself

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Haylie, is this a joke? This MUST be a satire article at the rate this is going.

No, avid reader, this is in fact not a joke. I have found that my grandparents have around ten decks of cards laying around the house, most of which I have to brush dust off if I want to use them. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, click here for instructions on how to play. Usually when you play Solitaire, you want to play again and again to see how far you can get. Hence, Solitaire wastes time without you even knowing it. If you don’t have any cards with you or at the place you are at, Google Solitaire is another great resource.


Look at old family photos

Ah yes, the ol’ trip down memory lane. Some might think it’s a one-way ticket on a train to Snoozetown, but it really can be fun if you make something out of it. Crack open one of those scrapbooks and look at old pictures of your grandma in her prime. Who knows? Maybe telling your grandma she was “smokin’” will earn you brownie points.

If whatever house you are at doesn’t have any family scrapbooks, set yourself on a scavenger hunt for things to find in pictures framed around the house. I promise you you’re destined to find one of those 1980s-esque photoshoot photos taken at JCPenney. Also, maybe wandering around the house like a madman staring at walls will be a conversation starter nonetheless.


Play obnoxious games

Want to be the party starter? I know what you’re thinking, “Haylie, I’m spending time with people who use going to the post office as a form of entertainment. How can I be a ‘party starter’?”

Valid point. However, you’d be surprised how much enjoyment you could get out of seeing your uncle get pied in the face.

This is a great way to socialize with your family members in a way that doesn’t make you want to scream. It’s playful, lighthearted and honestly, really fun.

Here’s a list of obnoxious games that will keep you and your family occupied for hours on end:

-Cards Against Humanity
-Speak Out

-Pie Face!

-What Do You Meme

-Wet Head Game
-Joking Hazard


Stretch it out

Let’s face it- the holidays can be stressful. Whether it’s worrying about what gifts you are going to get for your loved ones or just a lot of social interaction, the holiday season can take a toll on you.

If you’re left staring at the ceiling at a family gathering and you’re feeling productive, do some yoga and stretching exercises to pass the time. I’m not talking about getting in full-on workout mode, but just some simple stretches can help relieve some of that seasonal stress and release some of those well-needed endorphins.

Google and Youtube are your best friends for finding routines matched for what you’re in the mood for. From the downward dog to just doing a simple stretch in your jeans, the Internet can answer all your inquiries.


Redo your iPhone’s Home Screen

First, I’d like to publicly apologize to all my Android users out there for excluding you from this segment. You are loved and you are valued.

Now, for all my Apple users out there, this one’s for you. I’ve found that designing your home screen to your aesthetic takes up a huge chunk of time that most people don’t have on a normal day-to-day basis, but is very rewarding in the end. Take this time to fit the “aesthetic” norms of 2021!

You can personalize your home screen with little tools called “widgets” that can be set to countdowns, weather predictions, favorite photos and more. You can also change the pictures that appear as your app icons to maximize the appeal of your home screen.

Is this extra? Yes.

Does this waste time while also being somewhat productive? Yes.

I know the obligations presented by the holiday season can be hard. However, make sure to show some love to those around you and use this time to show gratitude. After all, the holidays are about family and togetherness. And if that “togetherness” is too much for you, at least use one of these things on the list to get you through.