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How To Go Home For The Holidays And Not Be The Worst

Your family can stress you out at Christmas. That goes both ways.

The holiday season is upon and that means guys and girls all over the nation will be traveling on packed planes to get their cheeks pinched by relatives whom they didn't even know they had. Going back home can be a beautiful time, but there are countless ways to ruin it for everybody. How about we don't do these, no?

Take it easy on the booze

Sure, it's cold and there's spiked eggnog, and your dad won't stop talking about the president. Still, it's important to keep things in moderation. Getting trashed at four in the afternoon (and screaming at your brother about that time he put shaving cream on your face when you were seven) lets your folks know that maybe things aren't going as well for you as you tell them. Of course, some families get drunk together as a tradition; they're called "weirdos."

Keep your whining to a minimum

You're back in your hometown ... which you left for a reason: It's awful. The bars close early, everybody knows each other's gossip, and the coolest spot is behind the parking lot of a gas station.

That doesn't mean you have to be a jerk about it. Everybody's happy to see you, so don't spend your little visit complaining about how terrible it is to be there. It can't be all bad.

Pretend you like the socks

Most gifts your family get you suck. Your aunt has awful taste and the only thing she seems to remember about you is that you have feet.

The holidays aren't about receiving gifts, though -- they're about spending time with loved ones trying really hard to smile. Open your present, say "thanks," and give your aunt the eternal gift of thinking she nailed it. Again.

You're an adult... you can afford presents

The best part of the holidays when you're a kid is you get all the presents you want, and you don't have to spend a second in a checkout line at the mall. But you aren't a kid anymore. You're a grownup. (Kinda sorta.) It's time to step up your game, and that means getting nice gifts -- as nice as you can afford, anyway -- for Mom, Dad, and that weird nephew. It'll make you feel like a real adult, and you might even actually start doing your own laundry.

Be nice to Grandma

Grandma smells like a family of gerbils died and were buried in her skin, and she only wants to watch reruns of "House." Still, she's old and being mean to old people is not cool. You want to be cool, right?

Chuckle at her jokes and you'll be back to hanging with your friends in no time. Unless she says something super racist. Then feel free to let her have it.

Spend SOME time at home

As we've already covered, being back home kinda sucks. You know what it's like to be on your own now, and watching A&E eight hours a day is brutal. But you've gotta put your time in. Your parents kinda raised you and stuff, so the least you can do is let them ask you 75 times if you're eating enough food.

Help with the dishes, set the table, wear that ugly sweater, spread cheer

This is primetime to step up your good son/daughter game. Do the little things and everybody will be happy, and you'll rack up a lotta points. You're gonna need them, especially when you ask for $200 in a month.