Auntie Lee’s winter break survival kit

Lee Thomas, fortified with essential vitamins and minerals

Illustration by Keeli McKern.

Maybe you’re a first-year who had your first “returning home” experience over Thanksgiving break or you’re a student who stayed in Walla Walla for the break specifically to avoid “The Parents.” But now the visit feels inevitable — they’ve booked your flight, they have trips planned and they’re telling all the family members to come on by and catch up with their little college student. The dread can feel crushing, so let me help lift this weight off your shoulders with these winter break hacks.

Drag someone along with you

Safety is found in numbers. Convincing your roommate, bestie or lover to brave your family with you is an age-old and essential technique in dodging hometown hostilities. Mom’s trying to start a fight? “My guest is sitting right there. You’re gonna do this in front of them?” Dad’s being ridiculous? “My guest and I are going for a nice, long, smelly walk.” Creepy kid from high school that only wears army fatigues hits you up? “Sorry, I’m showing my guest around town. You wouldn’t like them.” 

Impromptu study-abroad trip

Got enough cash in your savings account? Run away to a whole different country for the season! “It was a last minute once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up!” Take a tour around Hawaii while “studying” the drastic disasters that Hawaiian tourism brings. After that, just spend the spring semester plugging away to make up for all the costs. Such a breeze!

Pretend to sleep

While this should only be a last resort move, this is a basic tool that everyone should have under their belt. Your younger sibling wants you to play Super Smash Bros. with them even though you always win and they always cry about it? Closing your eyes and staying still, but not too rigidly still, all while lightly snoring should just about do it. This trick can get sort of complicated when your family thinks you’ve been sleeping for the last 63 hours straight, but there’s a solution to this. If you’d like to take it one step further … 

Fake your death

Self-explanatory. Bribe or scam whoever you need to — the cops, motel managers or Whitman administration — to ensure you’re never caught. It’s an “easy peasy lemon squeezy” solution.

Good luck, and remember, we’re in this together!