A Guide To Having Your Parents Over For The Holidays


Happy MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR. The holiday season promises drinking, frivolity, gift-giving, alcohol, turkey specials at Boston Market, booze, you name it! This is when you really get to LET LOOSE.

But OH GOD your mother just called and said she and your father are COMING TO VISIT. What do you do?! Drink bleach to purify yourself? Stop it, you’re being rash. Convince the neighbor to burn down the building? No, that would take human interaction.

You’re going to have to prepare.

The last time your mother was in your house she wiped her finger through the dust on a shelf and cried out, “WHERE DID I GO WRONG?!” Brace yourself. Your birthgiver and her lifemate are going to trespass on YOUR SACRED SPACE with their QUESTIONS and ACCUSATIONS. Your father is going to freak out when you use computer words. Your mother is going to see a sock on the floor and diagnose you with depression. Accept these things. BUT. You can take direct action to mitigate the damage. Some tips for getting that animal pen you call an apartment ready in time:

  1. Clean your place in bursts on different days. Clear the floor of clutter, dust the 26 books you keep in case you need to sell them at Half-Price for ramen money, and throw a Molotov cocktail at the toilet. “All-Purpose Cleaner” is a real thing that people use, so use it! That spray bottle under the sink contains a MAGICAL CLEANING POTION. Its job is to pluck you from the squalor you’ve been living in and transplant you into livable conditions free of black mold and drain hair.

  2. HIDE EVERYTHING. Drawers are your friends. You know what you DON’T want? You don’t want your father poking at things in your house with the penis lollipop your friend Dave gave you. You don’t want your mother sobbing her eyes out into handfuls of condoms. You don’t want to have a conversation with your dad about a lifesize cardboard Zefron cutout. That’s your business. Don’t put your dad through Zefron.

  3. Bed skirts. Remember when you moved in and ran to Bed, Bath, & Beyond because “Oh yeah, sheets and towels are a thing”? You saw a bed skirt and thought to yourself, “Why the hell would anyone ever need this? I hate rich people!” THIS IS EXACTLY THE TIME FOR A BED SKIRT. Scoot all those unpaid bills and that guitar your stoner friend left at your place for two years UNDER THE BED. Your mother knows that bed skirts have the same rules as real skirts. She won’t look under it.

  4. CLEAN YOUR BASEBOARDS. They’re the things at the bottoms of walls. You do not remember that you have them, BUT YOUR MOTHER DOES.

  5. Get way too many pillows. Use them to convince your parents you are mentally stable and have time for needless decoration. Have you ever walked into a friend’s bachelor pad, tripped over a Lean Cuisine tray with a dead cat on it, lost your keys in a pile of drugs, then stumbled into the bedroom to find a glorious, cushy display of pillows with vibrant designs made from exotic silky fabrics? NO, you haven’t. Pillows are LIES.

  6. PINE CONES. Moms love pine cones. Put them everywhere.

  7. Display all the gifts your mother has given you. Your father has no idea whether anything in your house is from your parents, so ignore him. If you haven’t already destroyed all the gifts you’ve ever received from your mother at some point in a drunken fit of rage, dig them out of the closet and display them. A rotary phone? SURE I DISPLAY THIS REGULARLY TO GUESTS. Matching framed paintings of teapots? ABSOLUTELY I FREQUENTLY ADMIRE THESE. A carrot peeler? YES I DID NOT THROW THAT AWAY IMMEDIATELY.

You can save all that “but I’m proud of who I am” crap for people you aren’t trying to convince to give you presents. Get to work. You’ll know you’re finished when your place looks like a hospital and reeks of deception.

Scriven Bernard is a performer, tech, teacher, coach, and all-around fun guy. He hates housework and has complicated relationships with his parents. He performs as Miracle in Let's Get Busy Tonight and in the troupes Tabooze, Mouth Noises, and Hollywood Marriage.