You’ve got to love family; you cannot live with them (at times) and you cannot live without them. And the holidays (Christmas and New Year) is one of those times where there is no excuse big enough to escape family gatherings.
Be advised, a family gathering over the holidays can quickly turn into a holiday from hell literally. Don’t get me wrong: I love my family very much but having family over for the holidays is akin to giving birth; wonderful on paper but torturous, emotionally draining and exhaustive in reality.
There is always some sort of drama when you put a family under one roof for the holiday season. In fact, over the years I have come to realise that family gatherings often play out like clockwork, there are certain things that never miss.
There is always that father who gets so drunk he embarrasses everyone and does something silly like indecently exposing self or peeing on himself.
A fight never misses, it can be verbal and sometimes physical, all courtesy of putting siblings in one room who all have different personalities and views about anything and everything.
There is also what I like to call the “bragging-about-children session”, where those who have children take time out of making merriment to boast about their children. Woe unto you if someone’s child came top in his or her class; she will yap about it to no end.
A fashion face off is also a must, but it is usually between the women. Winning the fashion crown means you are better than every other woman in the room.
Then there is uncle creepy who is thrice your age but gives you that look that says, “I want you”, never mind that his children and wife are around. For single ladies there is one annoying question that everyone asks: when are you getting married?
That one question is a constant torment at family gatherings. It is like everyone’s opening line when they approach you. And it is not only grown up who are obsessed with your marriage status, even your little nieces want to know when they will be your flower girl.
And then there is the ever present “uncle give me money”, the guy who thinks that people on Nairobi have money trees or thinks you owe him because heaven forbid you are more successful than he is. The list unfortunately goes on and on, that is just how family is.
So for many people, family get-togethers require survival strategies. There are certain strategies that I have adopted to survive this season and so far so good. I have learnt to always have realistic expectations and to ask God to grant me the ability to accept the things I cannot change.
If you keep your expectations reasonable then you will enjoy yourself. Avoid personal topics and stay on general topics like the latest fashion trends and compliment the food even when your mother-in-laws chapos are the worst you have ever tasted.
Also never ever pass judgment on sibling’s children or anyone else’s, no matter how rotten or badly behaved they may be. People’s children are a touchy subject that can cause a feud that will last until eternity.
And most importantly be yourself. If you want to carry your gas cylinder to ushago because you do not know how to cook with wood, please do. If you relatives do not like you there is nothing you can do that will change their mind, so you might as well enjoy yourself!