Wrap up your feelings in good gifts for bad relatives

Deal with conservative family members through the socially acceptable act of passive-aggressive holiday gift giving.

By James Parker Sheffield

It’s not shocking that, in politically difficult times, many of us are apprehensive about going home for the holidays. Most “how to deal with your family” think-pieces have one of three approaches to the problem:

    1. Don’t go.
    2. Go, but don’t say anything confrontational.
    3. Go, and be prepped for battle.

For some of us, those options don’t work: We have to go, or else. We can’t just keep quiet; it feels wrong. We can’t fight with them; they don’t listen.

I would like to offer a fourth option: Be the best passive-aggressive Gay you can possibly be.

Know your targets. Buy gifts that don’t create a stir, but do low-key read them for filth or teach them something good without them knowing it.

Just remember, this isn’t about being mean. This is about being mean, really clever, and always maintaining an amazing game face. Here are some examples to get you started.

Little What’s-His-Face

Little What’s-His-Face is barely out of high school. He can’t stop bragging about how he “became a man just in time to Make America Great Again.” This kid is terrible. You’ve watched him throw tantrums across an expanse of public spaces over the years.

Little What’s-His-Face just turned 18 and is about to be unleashed on the world.

Your gut instincts may tell you to buy him clothes he’ll hate but that his mom will make him wear (i.e. skinny jeans or tighty whities). Here’s the thing: He may hate it, but it will probably make him more attractive. Taking this route may inadvertently help get him laid, and your new job is making sure that no one sleeps with him until he learns to make better decisions. You can do better.

Get this guy a big, thick stack of books.

Go buy the most progressive books you can find, and then wrap them in Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly dust jackets. Little What’s-His-Face isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, so he’ll likely get several chapters in before he figures it out, if he figures it out.


Of Course His Name is Chad:

Holidays used to be about one thing: getting blitzed with your sister and making fun of your family. Those days are gone, because now there is only Chad.

Chad is your sister’s conservative fiancée, who has a degree in business, a fact he will mention no less than 12 times. Chad insists on being called “Chadwick” in professional settings and upon initial introductions. Chad “doesn’t have a problem with gays,” he just doesn’t understand why you “make everything about that.”

Chad doesn’t approve of holiday-sunrise-booze-smoothies, a staple in the sibling survival kit. Chad doesn’t approve of kitchen performances of Homo for the Holidays, a sketch you wrote with your sister about the time you accidentally outed yourself at the high school winter band concert. Chad has an incessant need for validation.

Chad is a dick.

Buy Chad a trivia game. Beat Chad at that trivia game in front of everyone.


Aunt Linda & Uncle Bob

The gasp of RV airbrakes echoing from the curb marks the beginning of three days of nonstop stories about church mission trips and complaints about temperature. These people are the reason you’ve never made it past 10 a.m. on Christmas without being hammered.

Your holiday-sunrise-booze-smoothie barely helps you cope with Uncle Bob’s “Christmas Party Mix Playlist” at 8 a.m., but Aunt Linda and Uncle Bob come with Madison, their only child.

Cousin Madison’s flair for the dramatic is lost on her 12 year-old peers, but she doesn’t care. You love everything about this child. The Sophie’s Choice monologue she performed for her school spring talent showcase was written about in papers across three counties.

Aunt Linda and Uncle Bob will receive a very nice Bose home surround-sound system. Cousin Madison will get your entire iTunes library, the set-up instructions, and remote control for the sound system.

Oh! Also, get Cousin Madison theater tickets that require Uncle Bob to watch adults dressed up as singing cats. Boom.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *