Your Handy Guide to Appropriate Holiday Dinner Reactions

by Gabrielle Sierra

The holiday season is upon us, and that means turkey and ham, trees and menorahs, gifts and gift returns, and most of all, the overwhelming frustration of family. You can’t choose your relatives, so chances are you’re sharing a table with all types of characters during this particularly divisive time in American history.

It can be hard to know how to handle certain hot-button conversations and sensitive issues, so we created a shortcut guide of five appropriate responses you can use for topics that may (and probably will) arise. Great tidings of comfort and joy to all!


1. Topic: Your aunt’s new boyfriend, Dan, says gun control won’t stop mass shootings and launches into a speech on the second amendment.

Appropriate Response: Offer Dan a domestic beer and add a little bit of salt before you give it to him. Keep adding more salt each time you hand him a new beer.

Why: Because he is being salty. So are you. Also it’s funny to watch him try to figure out if it is him or the beer that is slightly off. (Spoiler, it is both.)


2. Topic: Your brother’s childhood friend who never left your hometown says he doesn’t believe climate change is real because, look, it is snowing right now.

Appropriate Response: Turn the air conditioner on high but also turn the heat on high so everyone gets the chills while also getting really sweaty. When they ask what is wrong with your home say it is a theme and the theme is a tropical luau but in Alaska. And then when your grandmother has to be sent home with a terrible chest cold turn to your brother’s childhood friend and yell “This is all your fault, Ted!”

Why: Luaus are really fun. And yeah, this may punish the elderly or weak but sometimes sacrifices must be made in defense of science.


3. Topic: Your step-brother says that football players kneeling during the flag is disrespectful to the troops.

Appropriate Response: Quiz him on various American history facts while standing in front of the television as he is trying to watch the football game. Drape yourself in an American flag and use your best Grey Gardens accent.

Why: Because you are a real American, that’s why.


4. Topic: Your 19-year-old second cousin says she doesn’t understand why everyone reacted so strongly after her all-blonde sorority hosted a costumed Mexican-themed rave.

Appropriate Response: Walk by her chair and accidentally dump some guacamole in her hair.

Why: Because in this home we counter social stereotypes with food-related stereotypes. Also everyone will be all, “Claire how did you get guacamole in your hair, we aren’t even serving guacamole?” adding a little mystery to the evening.


5. Topic: Your uncle says he doesn’t get why everyone’s so mad at Louis C.K. since it isn’t like he attacked or raped anyone and also he asked those women if he could masturbate in front of them.

Appropriate Response: Set your hair on fire.

Why: Because after spending at least two decades of your life explaining this calmly and kindly to many, many men, you are in the market for a way to transfer the pain from inside your head to the outside.

And to all a good night!