Home-for-the-Holidays Survival Guide
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Sanity Savers1 of 10
By Kelly Mickle
If only going home for the holidays were as picture perfect as the Hallmark commercials. Cramped quarters, crazy kids and intrusive questioning from well-meaning family members can turn the most wonderful time of year into the most stressful. Here, nine sanity-saving strategies to survive the holidays without turning into a Grinch.
Just Breathe2 of 10
You've only been home 15 minutes, but your uncle's inappropriate jokes and your mom's endless questions already have you looking for an exit strategy. Take a deep breath. Studies show breathing exercises can immediately help reduce anxiety. Place your hands on your abdomen and inhale through your nose, feeling your belly expand, then exhale very slowly through your mouth like you're blowing out a birthday candle. Repeat five to ten times—or until your sanity resurfaces.
Say Cheese!3 of 10
The Awkward Family Photo game will make you feel better about yours. Based on the hit website, the board game asks players creative questions about each cringe-worthy family picture (i.e., "What do you think happened right before this photo?"). The more ridiculous your answers, the better—a surefire way to get your crankiest relative to stop being a scrooge.
SHOP NOW: Awkward Family Photos game, $16, amazon.com
Silence Is Golden4 of 10
Noise-cancelling headphones are perfect for blocking out the chainsaw that is Uncle Eddie's snoring. Chic, affordable and portable, these folding headphones from Alienvibes can be stowed in your carry-on for easy access any time you need some peace and quiet.
SHOP NOW: Alienvibes Headphones, $147, amazon.com
Snow Day5 of 10
Desperate for new ways to entertain the kids? Even tech-savvy tweens will be impressed with Insta-Snow. Add water, and the non-toxic powder instantly transforms into fluffy artificial snow that never melts and is even cool to the touch. Finally you can have the white Christmas you always dreamed of. Well, sort of …
Phone a Friend6 of 10
You may not be able to bring your BFFs home with you for the holidays, but that doesn't mean you can't still lean on each other for support. Set up an emergency phone list with your friends so you can excuse yourself with an important call next time Grandma starts retelling the same story for the 50th time.
Take a Hike7 of 10
Skip the awkward morning small talk with holiday houseguests and go for a walk around the neighborhood. Research shows that a little exercise in the great outdoors can reduce stress by triggering a chemical response in the body that helps you relax.
Santa's Helper8 of 10
Out of Christmas gift ideas? Pickie's HackXmas app helps you shop for everyone on your list by suggesting gift ideas based on the person's activity on sites like Pinterest and Facebook.
Stay on Script9 of 10
Nothing kills the holiday spirit like the annual interrogation—and unsolicited advice—from your concerned family members: Why are you still single? Are you dating enough? Are you still looking for a job? Keep the inquisition at bay by cutting them off with pre-planned answers: "I'm actually really enjoying my independence right now, but thanks for your concern."
Hot Topics10 of 10
'Tis the season for… family fights? For the sake of holiday harmony, it's best to steer all conversation away from politics. Try these foolproof subject segues to keep the peace:
"Anyone wanna watch a movie later? I made a list of my five favorite Christmas movies."
"Aunt Suzy, I love this green bean casserole. What's in it?"
"How about that football game!"
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