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6 Awkward Holiday Situations

It wouldn’t be the holidays without a few cringeworthy moments that make you turn as red as Santa’s suit. Here’s how to handle them.

4. You’re a dinner guest with dietary issues. While it’s fine to give a broad overview of what you do and don’t eat to your hosts before you arrive, balance that by letting them know what you do eat (I’m a vegetarian, but I’m looking forward to the amazing sweet potatoes I’ve heard so much about) and let them know how much you’re looking forward to the dinner. If you feel your diet will make it hard to fill a plate, either bring a hearty side dish everyone can share or, if it’s a relatively informal event, ask if it’s all right to only come to the cocktail hour.

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5. Her dad disses you at the table. Sure, she wants a guy to stand up for himself, but she’s definitely not looking for a fight, either. In this case, it’s best to deflect and distract. “Many inappropriate comments are best deflected with humor,” says Thomas P. Farley, manners and lifestyle expert and author of What Manners Most. Respond in a jokey way by saying something like “I admire your honesty!” then pointedly make eye contact with your girlfriend so she knows she needs to change the subject, ASAP.

6. You’ve double-booked to two holiday parties. Resist the urge to fake a cough and say you’re sick. Instead, let one of the hosts know as soon as possible, and keep the details vague, says Farley. Then, a few days later, call him or her up, let them, know again how sad you were to have missed it, and set up a concrete time in January to get together.

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