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For many folks, it’s that dreaded time again. The Christmas holiday dinner with the extended family.

The event that causes you to have to make a choice. A choice between seeing Mom’s happy smile because everyone came, or staying home so you don’t have to be around The Tongue this year.

You know who I’m talking about. You promised yourself last year that God Himself couldn’t force you to sit through another dinner with Conceited Connie or Bully Bart again. Every time you hear that voice, you immediately feel your insides quiver with intense dislike. Oh yes, you’ve warned yourself repeatedly, “Just don’t react,” but every year you’ve felt a strong urge to pick up the nearest overloaded dinner plate and smash it over the head of said person. Compared to four hours of listening to their drivel, standing one-legged on the point of a needle in a hail storm sounds easy.

But your spouse protests when you’re honest about wanting to boycott the family dinner this year. “But honey, you know how your mom looks forward to getting the whole family together at Christmastime! If you don’t go, she’ll be so disappointed.”

And then your beloved pulls out the big guns and aims straight at your conscience. “And you know, your mom isn’t getting any younger. We’re not really sure how many more years we’ll have her here with us.”

So, you sigh and pull on your big girl panties, or you men take a deep breath. You square your shoulders, and march out to the car. Knowing exactly how the condemned man feels as he marches to the gallows where the hangman’s noose dangles.

Sound familiar? Probably. And you’re not alone in your dilemma. It’s a well-known fact that most families here in the good ol’ USA have issues. But knowing that just doesn’t help much, does it? So, what to do when the dreaded Dinner With The Tongue rolls around?

First of all, have your plan of survival firmly fixed in your mind. Take an antacid. Or two. Fortify yourself with the prescription muscle relaxer of your choice. Scope out the nearest exits of the room ahead of time. Then plaster a smile over your gritted teeth and glue it in place. And when you hear that nerve-grating voice that lets you know The Tongue has arrived, keep taking deep breaths. But when you have finally reached your boiling point, excuse yourself quietly and beeline out of the room for a while…leaving Mom’s holiday dinnerware intact on the table.

So, why should you even bother going?

Because, if you ghost the family holiday dinners completely, everyone else has to face The Tongue without you. That happens very many years, and others will decide to join you in your strike – leaving only a few committed die-hards sitting around Mom’s table, staring at empty chairs. And Mom’s annual family dinner disintegrates to nothing. And another American family is no longer that…family.



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