Sound family-get-together advice with a comedic twist is just what we never knew we needed. Modern CLE Staff Report
Sam Dee is used to hearing everyone’s problems. After all, that’s the premise behind her stand-up comedy show, Share-apy, in which Dee dishes out advice to audience members who come bearing complaints and questions about dating lives, sibling squabbles, bad habits, and everything in between. “With social media, everybody’s always just showing the best of themselves when I know everyone’s struggling so much,” Dee tells Modern CLE, “and I just kinda wanted to make a forum where people can hear that everybody has the same problems—and in a way, kind of make light of them.”
Held the fourth Wednesday of each month at Forest City Brewery, this month’s Nov. 28 show will be dedicated to stress—and it’s just in time. From the intense pressure of cooking for a dozen people to the nerves we feel over seeing our distant relatives, this season is filled with stress, Dee says. “We know we’re going to have horrible politics discussions and have to spend exorbitant amounts of time with our families, who have all these expectations of us—and really, everybody is just trying to make everybody happy, but that’s stressful because we all just want to relax,” she says.
But luckily, Dee has shared with Modern CLE seven surefire—and funny—ways to de-stress and diffuse any uncomfortable situation you’ll face this holiday season.
1. To create a fond holiday memory, hide all the silverware.
When you are really dreading a family get-together, stash your silverware in a place no one will find it, Dee recommends. “Everyone will be so tired and frustrated after searching for the cutlery that they will give up and return to our Cro-Magnon roots and start eating with their hands,” Dee says. “What a good story to tell at reunions!”
2. Host a gathering with friends.
Just as you can count on your family to make things awkward, you can be sure your friends will make a party fun. So, Dee suggests padding your holiday schedule with a Friendsgiving celebration or holiday party, pot-luck style, to take the pressure off you to cook. “Nobody’s making fun of you for being vegan and you get to just be with the people that you choose to spend your time with,” Dee says in earnest. “I feel that’s relaxing, because no matter how much my family drives me crazy, misunderstands me, or judges me, I know that these people are going to love me no matter what.”
3. Come to the party prepared.
Before you embark on a holiday event with family, Dee suggests that you “print out a sheet with the answers to all the annoying questions family members ask and pass it out.” This move “saves you emotional energy and you’ll have more time for pie!” Dee says.
4. Bring something to distract your family from your faults.
“I feel like I always have the most fun with my family when I bring something that we can all do together,” says Dee, who often brings board games to her gatherings. But, she says, you could also bring a movie or a craft. These things “can either help people get along or create fights,” she warns. But either way, this activity will give your family something to do other than talk about your dating life, Dee explains.
5. Find your “twin,” and send her instead.
When you simply can’t stomach the idea of seeing your family this season, “hire a look-alike to impersonate you for family gatherings,” Dee suggests. “If you can’t find someone who is a facial match, wrap their face in gauze and say you were in a terrible accident. They’ll do all the chores your folks saved for when you came by and endure political arguments while you sit in a bubble bath watching Netflix.”
6. Put things in perspective.
When you’re scrambling to bake sweet potatoes for 20 people, take a moment to put things in perspective, Dee encourages. “If you don’t bring the sweet potato casserole it’s not going to be the end of the world,” she sincerely advises. “Yeah, people will be disappointed and maybe gripe a little bit, but you’re just doing the best you can. Give yourself credit. You have so much going on in and so much you have to juggle—and the holidays just compound on that. I know you want everything to be perfect, but you need to accept that it probably won’t be. Someone’s going to forget something.”
7. Say sayonara, suckers!
Remember, when family times get tough, “you can always leave,” Dee says seriously. “I think everybody feels trapped in holiday traditions, but you don’t have to. You can set boundaries for your family if they make you feel uncomfortable or upset, and just say ‘Oh, well, I’ve got to get a head start on my black Friday shopping—bye!”
And, “if all else fails,” Dee says, “flip the table and disown everyone!”