The holiday season is officially upon us. Time to break out the eggnog and the mistletoe and kiss your sanity goodbye for the next month and a half, or at least for the week that your boyfriend’s (or girlfriend’s) parents, bless their hearts, are in town.
Whether it’s a neurotic mother-in-law who insists on cleaning the bathroom the minute she arrives at you and your partner’s shared apartment, or a father-in-law who still “isn’t sure” if he supports about same-sex marriage despite having a gay child, we all inherit at least one in-law who constantly tries our patience and, sometimes, our sanity.
Here are five tips for surviving this holiday season with those particular in-laws…
1. Stock up on a host of anti-anxiety remedies.
Before your in-laws arrive for their annual holiday visit, swing by Rosalie Apothecary in Mid-City or Esoterica Occult Goods in the French Quarter to pick up some kava kava (for anxiety), lavender and chamomile tea (for relaxation), and valerian root (for sleep). Practice your deep breathing and other meditative exercises at Swan River Yoga on Canal St. Stock up on great wine from Fouberg Wines on St. Claude Av. Call in a refill on your Ativan prescription. And remind yourself: You can do this. It’s only a week with the in-laws. It could be worse. It could be two weeks.
2. Put together an itinerary before they arrive.
There’s nothing more distressing than being stuck with a houseful of guests and having nothing to do, or being pressured to think of something at the last minute. A week is a long time to fill. Do yourself a favor and put together an agenda in advance for the next 168 hours. Luckily, New Orleans has no shortage of great things to do, which leads us to Tip #3…
3. Plan activities that will physically and/or mentally exhaust them.
There’s nothing like a group dance class at Dancing Grounds in the Bywater or a biking tour of the city provided by Bike NOLA in the French Quarter to tire out your in-laws. Other outings that will surely wear them down are an afternoon at The National World War II Museum followed by a trip to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, paddle boating in City Park, or wine tasting at The Tasting Room in Uptown. Afterwards, they’ll be too exhausted to do anything other than sleep, leaving you free to relax without listening to your mother-in-law ask for the zillionth time about when the two of you are going to adopt a baby.
4. When all else fails, drink!
Normally, drinking by oneself would be considered troublesome. Except on day five of a seven day sojourn with the in-laws.Tell your boyfriend you’re going for a walk then hit the Fruit Loop to drown away your frustrations. Cafe Lafitte in Exile and Good Friends Bar are both open 24-7 and 700 Club has all-day Happy Hour on Tuesdays. You have options, folks.
5. Plan a post-holiday vacation.
This can be anything from a weekend getaway to Natchez, a volcanic stone massage at The Woodhouse Day Spa on Canal St, or a haircut and a shave at Aidan Gill for Men on Magazine St. Not only will it allow you a chance to recoup after a hectic holiday season, but it will give you something to look forward to once the eggnog has curdled, the mistletoe has wilted, and the in-laws have finally – finally! – boarded their flight home.