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Olga Gives Advice on How to Deal With Your Not-So-Perfect Family Around Christmas

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christmas troubles


My mother has been on a health food regime since she had a medical scare a few years ago. That’s ordinarily fine and I understand, but when the holidays roll around, she morphs into the captain of the food police. She indulges in fat shaming and portion control. It’s miserable. I love her but I’m not sure that even God can get me through another holiday. I’m so edgy that I nearly split the ceiling as I jumped when my dad came up behind me. What should I do? Amy

Dear Amy

Get a hold of yourself. Families become more trying than ever during the holiday season. Everyone wants to have their highest expectations fulfilled, knowing that they won’t be. The anticipation causes stress. The realization that your family isn’t the joy filled treat that you envisioned after some gushy holiday movie, still stings a little bit every year.

You have a choice. Extricate yourself or deal with it.

Everyone has their flaws and all of those flaws are heightened when Santa comes to town.

Think of it as his special gift.

Sit back. Watch the others play their typical rolls and try to find the humor in it. Trust me. There’s humor to be found in every family get together. When the going gets rough, take a bathroom break. If need be, bring your phone to call or text a friend.

Just don’t whine and complain. Highlight the funny parts.

You’ll find that the holidays are much more enjoyable that way.


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My relatives drive me crazy during the holidays. They all vie for the attention spot light. There’s almost never any real conversation. It’s a succession of lengthy, self-indulgent soliloquies. Worse yet, as one is going on and on, the others don’t listen at all because they are concentrating on how to take the floor. Help please. Quinn

Dear Quinn

Mazeltov! You’ve got a family. Now heaven forbid that I generalize, but some cultures are more prone to that behavior than others.

Look at it this way. They all want attention and approval from the people they value the most.

Sure, it’s irritating but at least you know that they all love each other.

The holidays come once a year. Make a decision Quinn. Would you rather be a grinch or a gift?

Choose wisely my friend.

Unlike any other time of the year, if you act like an ass at Christmas, everyone remembers for years. They may not appreciate you right away if you are the happy considerate one but you will know. The pride that you will feel can get you through it. Just don’t gloat.

You can handle this.


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My brother’s son is 13. He doesn’t particularly enjoy bathing. As a result, he bears a displeasing aroma. It’s either underarm sweat or axe spray for men. My brother and sister in law don’t want to embarrass him by addressing the situation but I can’t take the stink for another family get together. I actually had to put Ben gay under my nose during thanksgiving dinner so as not to gag. How can I deal with this without creating a family feud? Cassie

Dear Cassie

Find a different seat. Move away from the skunk. Until you are willing to say something, that’s all you can do. On the other hand, you can be the cool aunt who helps him out.

The stinky stylings can’t be a holiday special. He must have this problem at school too. Unless times have drastically changed since I was in school, no one wants to hang out with smelly guy.

Take him on a casual trip for a snack or activity and then stop by the local drug store. If you’re afraid to suggest a deodorant, quietly get a male pharmacist to help you out on the sly.

Even if you initially take some heat, they’ll all thank you later. No one likes a stinker.


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