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Holiday cheer is so manufactured it might as well be stamped with a "Made in China." It's no secret that it doesn't come from family reunions. Those things are either insufferably awkward and only generate one or two funny anecdotes to tell your friends/co-workers/therapist, or so wrought with tension that they put Twilight to shame. It wouldn't be a family reunion if it weren't uncomfortable.
The only thing worth looking forward to is sitting down and watching Elf playing nonstop on every channel. It's been 10 years since the movie first came out in 2003, which definitely means it merits a shelf in the Christmas classics. As an elder, it is your duty to shuffle the young'uns through this rite of passage and show them the true meaning of Christmas. With Buddy as your spirit animal, things will be different. Who knows, they might even be jolly. OK, that's setting the bar a little too high. Let's shake on bearable. Here's your teaching tool: 22 Elf GIFs to get you through every holiday disaster you'll experience this holiday season.
You won't want to make the drive to your grandparent's house so you pass the three-hour car ride imagining what you will get in their will.
While exploring the house (a.k.a. not socializing) you find pictures of family events you weren't invited to. Rude.
Or maybe it's hosted at your house. That sucks. Now you have to photo-proof the house so your uncle doesn't see his estranged daughter and her three kids she never told him about.
You even go to Whole Foods to get some organic tofurkey nonsense for your vegetarian cousin. Pat yourself on the back.
At least it's not at your uncle's cabin that has wall to wall taxidermy deer heads.
The usual heteronormative suspects never fail to make an appearance.
The bigoted grandpa who refers to every black man over 5'8" as Shaquille O'Neal.
Your Republican uncle you only talk to so you can use his boat.
Your grandma who doesn't lock the bathroom door, so you inevitably walk in while she's on the toilet.
But then you get excited when the one cool cousin says she's coming...and then she doesn't and there's nobody to talk to.
So people begin to ask why you're so quiet.
While your aunt confronts you and demands to know why you two aren't friends on Facebook.
Then you're put at the kid's table with the children who are way too amped up on sugar cookies and chocolate.
You don't mean to, but you slip up and tell your 7-year-old cousins that Santa isn't real. They were going to have to face the truth eventually, right?
Thank goodness for food and liquor. Wait, why isn't this eggnog not getting me tipsy? What do you mean this is a dry event?
Nobody eats the dish you brought even though it's delicious and you know it.
Or worse, they take a bite and call it "interesting."
Now it's time for everybody's favorite part: materialism!
Awkward, I got you a gift card. You like Home Depot, right?
WTF, you got me a gift card? How impersonal. Wait, did we all get gift cards from Home Depot?
Finally it's time to go. Now just suck it up and hug everyone, no matter how unpleasant it may be.
And tell everyone you had a great time and you can't wait till the next family gathering for this to happen all over again.