How to Survive the Ho Ho Holidays with Toxic Family

Ok I will admit it. I love Christmas. The holiday season is seriously one of my favourites. While I could do without the snow and the cold, I find myself embracing it anyways because as my favourite elf would say: “OH MY GOD SANTA!” The thing is though, whether or not I have an odd love for the holidays, I also know how downright stressful they can be. In fact, Kyla did a great job providing some Christmas hacks for moms last year and those are fucking fantastic. This isn’t about that. She hit the nail on the head with her tips. This is something else. Tis the season for Toxic relationships.

But what if…

Just what if…

You have a big family?

What if you host Christmas dinner every year?

What IF…dare I say it…. I am going to get myself in trouble for this one…. But WHAT IF, you just REALLY don’t want to see someone in your family over the holidays because they are fucking toxic as hell and you don’t want to have to wear a hazmat suit under your stylish Santa digs all fucking Christmas long?

How the hell are you supposed to survive that shit?

Listen, I am the first person to tell you that Christmas is all about family and love and caring and sharing and rainbows and snow angels and butterflies and sunshine lollipops snowmen everywhere. Ask my kids what Christmas is all about and they will tell you it’s family.

Does that mean I have to spend my favourite time of the year with those that make me hate it? Do I have to spend it with someone who is constantly mean to me? Fuck no. Do you? You bet your candy cane ass you don’t.


How to Survive the Holidays with Toxic Family

Don’t Talk to Them

Do you talk to them any other time of the year or are you just feeling bad for them because it’s the holidays and you feel like they should be included? Chances are, if they are toxic, you have already done the smart thing and cut them out of your life. So why the fucking hell would you suddenly strike up a conversation at what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year? You DON’T. Unless you want to incite a riot.

Don’t Host Christmas

If you host Christmas dinner every year, and other attendees are pushing for you to invite your toxic family member, just don’t host Christmas dinner. Why would you want to invite that negativity into your home? You wouldn’t. So either don’t invite them, or just don’t host. Who wants to serve up a beautiful Christmas dinner to someone that is only going to sweetly tell you that you forgot cranberry sauce just to make you feel bad? You don’t. So, don’t.

Attend with Care

If you aren’t hosting this year, and you are invited with your family to a gathering that the toxic individual is going to be attending, there are ways to handle this without getting fucking insanely drunk. The first thing you do is remember that all this person wants is an audience or a reaction to their bullshit. So, pull the rug out from under them (this is merely a figure of speech not an actual suggestion… or is it?) and then watch as the “mighty” falls. Don’t give them the attention and don’t let what they say bother you, in fact the best thing you can do is walk away. If your mother in law comes over and sweetly says to you: “Oh honey, I admire how strong you are, that dress is wonderful, it is so good you don’t care what other people think….” Refrain from punching the cow in her dumb face and instead just walk away. She knows what she is doing and walking away lets her know you do too. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, simply gather your family and leave, they are the ones missing out on your company.

Remember, the holidays really is all about family, but that never means you should have to wear a hazmat suit to avoid being overtaken by the toxic relatives. You should never do anything that could damage your well-being or your Christmas spirit. That shit is gold.


Jen is a 32 year old work at home mother of two wonderful little cherubs age 7 and 10. She writes for with a 7 year old on her head, a dog barking at nothing and a 10 year old making weird noises in her ear. Send Wine.