Holiday Family Etiquette (According to a Twenty Something)

Thanksgiving is next week. I know, I know – something you already know. There are two types of people in this world – those who celebrate the holidays with family and those who have learned better.

Kidding – totally kidding. But really, there are SO many wonderful and quite (joyful) memorable experiences that happen over the holidays. For many, it’s the chance to see that Uncle who always says the inapproapriate things you wish you could get away with. Or it’s eating your grandma’s famous pecan pie.

You get to spend quality time with those, that frankly, don’t get much of any of your time the rest of the year if it were not for weddings, funerals, reunions, birthdays, and more weddings.

But oh the but – the holidays are still such a hard time for so many of us. Especially us twenty somethings. And I would even have to say those in their Sr. year of college or after. The years that every family member has a question WITH an answer for us.

If you’re single – they have the website or the man. 

If you’re engaged – they have the best marriage advice. 

If you’re married – it’s the perfect formula for an easy casserole for your man or how to make a baby. 

If you have kids – it’s how to raise your kids. 

Seriously, I have never been to a holiday event and any of the above is said to anyone above 30. I get it, we are still semi-young and impressionable and could, might possibly, maybe – make mistakes. And yes, there are times (very few) that we will need or ask for opinions in any of these areas. But my dear sweet friends and family – it will most likely not be during the holidays.

During the holidays, the following groups are thinking of only a few things…

If we’re single“Praise God – sleeping in and no take-out for three days.”

If we’re engaged – “For three days I don’t have to plan a wedding or answer a group text.”

If we’re married“I miss my family – holiday sharing sucks.” 

If we have kids“Yes, free babysitting. When can I ask to ‘go to the store’ AKA – nap in my car.”

I know, I know. Many of you may be shaking your head at me thinking I am being rude or insensitive to your dear, genuine intention of caring.

I promise – I’m not. But I do promise that that is exactly what we think when holidays are used in an effort to catch up on family gossip rather than enjoying Grandma’s Pecan Pie recipe.

So – in an effort to clear up in any nonsense, I am have created a Holiday FAQ if you will – but more just the answers of these questions. One you can take (either family member or twenty something being questioned) and have as study material on your 8 hour drive to Aunt Janet’s.

  1. If she/he is graduating college it doesn’t mean they know where they will work, who they will marry, if they will have a 401k or good insurance where they work, or who they’re voting for.

  2. If she/he is single it’s not because they ‘want to be single’ or because they haven’t had any advice on how to ‘catch the man/woman.’ And yes, they know of ALL the dating sites (and apps) available and even the networking groups in town.

  3. If she/he is engaged they are more than happy NOT talking about the wedding, the colors, the guest list (who or who is not on it), or any life-altering decisions (home, investments, children…)

  4. If she/he is married most likely this is their first, second, or maybe third holiday with sharing their holidays without their family there. They are not interested in winning the ‘traditional family football game’ or learning Grandma’s recipe – they really just want to sit and eat. And for the love – don’t ask when they are having kids.

  5. If she/he has kids they are most likely surviving at this point and do not need your newest organic solution for runny noses or help teaching their kids what deserves a spanking or time out.

I know – seems kind of cruel, but my friends – save yourself and your family the unnecessary drama that is making a twenty something feel less-than on a day when they are supposed to feel oh so grateful.


happy (thanksgiving + christmas) holidays


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