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The in-laws are coming! The in-laws are coming!

One of the most uncomfortable components of a festive meal with family is an in-law you just can’t impress. You’ve tried everything, but still you’re under such harsh scrutiny that you’d much rather just give up. Don’t. Don’t let them get to you. You’re an all-star, or, you will be after these five helpful tips on surviving Christmas.

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The Set-Up

“Just a turkey? Sweetie, if you needed help making dinner, you should have just asked.”

The Solution

Make a turducken (turkey, duck and chicken in one). She wants protein? You’ll give her protein. All of the protein. Nothing says ‘home-style’ like a Paula Deen recipe, either.

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The Set-up

“You missed a spot. Do you even own a broom?”

The Solution

Breathe. A critical in-law is always going to find something, and there is absolutely no way around this. Save yourself some stress by keeping entertaining spaces limited. Keep doors locked or closed, and just do your best. Stick to dusting and cleaning spaces how you normally would–getting on your hands and knees to clean beneath the fridge is just going to stress you out, and you have a turducken to make.

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The Set-Up

“You look tired, dear.”

The Solution

We get it, how you look is probably the last thing on your mind. You’re out buying gifts, and you’re home preparing a feast that’s doomed to be criticized anyway, so the most in-law friendly lipstick isn’t even on your radar. Make your look effortless by choosing lasting make-up that doesn’t demand constant touch-ups.

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The Set-Up

“Honey, have you gained weight recently?”

The Solution

Don’t be like a pregnant actress on a sitcom and carry things to cover your waistline. You are not fat. Politely say “no” and just stop thinking about it. A sheet of floating paper in the wind would be fat to your in-law, so just let it roll off your shoulder. Honestly, it isn’t worth it, and you don’t want that criticism haunting you while you eat the meal you’ve prepared. The only way to ready yourself for this kind of terror is to just look in the mirror and tell yourself you look amazing.

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The Set-Up

“Can you please take care of your children?”

The Solution

Ah, your kids. Everyone has their own parenting style, so this is a tricky one. But don’t worry, there’s hope. The key to a nice family atmosphere is to make sure there are plenty of activities for kids to do together, so set up a few stations to keep them busy while you prepare the feast. Chat with your kids before the big day to find out what they’d like to do. It might take some shopping (craft supplies, books and toys), but at least you’ll have their input. And they’ll be so involved in their own creativity, that no one is going to criticize you for that. If they do, we give you permission to stand your ground with some sass.

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