Christmas is really two different holidays in one. On one hand, Christmas is a celebration of familial love, a day to relax with the people closest to you, catch up on each other's lives, and remember how much you all mean to each other. And on the other, Christmas is a day devoted to awkwardly eating some mini-quiches while making equally awkward small talk with some relatives whom you haven't seen for the previous 364 days. Relatives whom you haven't seen for the previous 364 days for a very good reason: because they are annoying as hell.
Yes, Christmas is all about family — including the family members whom you wish were not actually part of your family. Through a Christmas miracle of naivete and guilt, every family Christmas celebration ends up filled with relatives that the rest of the family devotes the rest of the year to avoiding. And yet here we are, committing to spending the whole day with them, laughing at their creepy jokes, agreeing with their freaky political opinions, or making a concerned face while they discuss their many made-up-sounding health ailments. God bless us, every one!
So, in honor of the meal you're about to share with your cousin who has 17 pet iguanas, or your uncle who claims to have invented the concept of "the internet" forty years ago while stoned, here is our guide to the nine weirdest, most irritating family members that you only see on Christmas. Cross your fingers that you get seated next to Mom at dinner this year.
1. The One with "Colorful" Political Opinions
If you're lucky, you'll only have to spend a few minutes listening to this conspiracy-loving relation tell you about how all tap water is full of mind control chemicals. But get stuck in a seat near them at dinner, and you are in for a long night of "learning" about President Obama's connection to the lizard people, who themselves are to connected to the mind control chemicals in tap water, and by the way, can anyone definitively prove that Jesus wasn't an alien?
2. The One Who Is the Same Exact Age As You (But Has Nothing in Common With You)
When you were kids, your parents were so stoked that you and your cousin were the same age, because you'd have a "built-in best friend" for the rest of your life. And it worked for a while — mostly during the period of your life that was focused on Fruit Roll-Ups and American Girl dolls. But as you grew up, it became clear that you two had nothing in common. Like "one of you is a professional Sailor Moon impersonator and the other is a hedge fund manager"-level nothing in common. You haven't been able to string together more than five minutes of small talk with this relative for about a decade. But the rest of your family has yet to get the memo — they're constantly seating you next to each other at dinner, and offering to "leave you two alone so that you can catch up."
3. The One Who Wants to Talk Non-Stop About Their Weird Hobbies
What's this relative's time-waster of choice? Puzzles? Doomsday prepping? Curling? Seeing how many hard-boiled eggs he can fit into his mouth at once? His entire life is consumed by his passionate devotion to a hobby that you barely understand — which would be great, if he weren't so hellbent on explaining all the intricacies of it to you.
4. The One Whom You're Not 100% Sure Is Actually Related to You
So that lady who's always milling around the cold cut bar at your family Christmas lunch...she's someone's aunt? Or is she married to someone's aunt? Or did she used to be married to Uncle Ted, but then they got divorced, but she still comes to Christmas lunch because of their kids? Or does she just live next door? Well, regardless, she wants to know why you're still single at your age.
5. The Child Who Seems to Hate You
Your cousin's kid is five or six, and you only see her for about five hours a year — five hours in which you try to be friendly, approachable, and a good role model. But somehow, over the course of those five hour stretches, this child has come to loathe you. What have you done to deserve having egg nog "accidentally" poured into your shoe? What crime did you commit against her that required her to tell you you were "too fat to be Anna" when you offered to play Frozen with her last year? And how can you possibly have a frank conversation about this with someone who is still pretty sure her dolls come to life after she goes to bed?
6. The One Your Parent Hates
Some time in the '80s, something happened between your mom and Aunt Jamie. No one's allowed to ever talk about it, or even admit that it happened, but it did happen, and because of this, your mom and Aunt Jamie must be kept apart at all costs. You think Aunt Jamie is actually kinda fun, which makes lying to her about how your mother "never mentions" her all the more depressing. It also makes lying to your mom about how you "definitely did not talk to Aunt Jamie at all tonight" all the more exhausting.
7. The "Cool" One
When you were a tween, this relative was a god to you, because he bought you the "dirty" version of CDs and let you watch Fight Club in his bachelor pad apartment over the garage at your grandma's house. But now, as an adult, you have realized that your "cool" relative is actually just a 45-year-old guy who works at a bong store and is three credits shy of a philosophy degree. Which makes his "cool" story about the time he peed in the urinal next to Dave Grohl at some bar that much sadder.
8. The One Who Wants to Get You Involved in Their Sketchy Business Idea
You have no clue what this relative actually does for a living, but you do know what they want to do for a living: start a business "making apps, you know, for phones. That's how you make a fortune these days!" You're young, maybe you could help them make an app? Like, something that told you what the weather was, or something? It'll be like money for nothing! Do you know that Facebook guy, Marvin Zuckbrot by any chance? Seems like he'd be a good contact to get to know.
9. The One Who Looks at Their Phone All Night and Doesn't Talk to Anyone
What did this relative do at family gatherings before they invented smartphones? Sit in the corner and hum to herself? You have no idea, but you do know that she was Snapchatting the entire time your grandmother was saying grace. You are outwardly miffed by her rudeness, but inwardly relieved that you don't have to talk to her, since you have no clue what she's into (except for smartphones and being emotionally closed off, that is).