There is a fine art about the way you leave parties, and leaving on Christmas is no exception; especially when you have a kid. You don't want to offend the host by leaving too early, but you probably can't wait to be done with the loud voices, increasingly drunken laughter, and all around craziness that is the holidays. While the emotional stages of trying to leave a family Christmas party are no joke, the really great thing about having that kid with you though (besides, like, the whole having a kid thing) is that this little one is now the perfect get-out-of-Christmas-free card.
OK sure, you probably can't go as far as to totally bail on the family gathering all together, but you'd better believe that using nap time and fussiness as excuses to duck out early are definitely things. I mean, it's totally understandable that your kid would be exhausted by the time that (way-too-late) dinner rolls around at the in-law's house. In fact, by all accounts you're pretty damn tired, too. Chasing after a toddler and picking up 30 pounds of baby every other minute is like an endless cardio workout.
I say give yourself a break by exaggerating the exhaustion your kid is (probably already) feeling. It's Christmas and you've earned it, right? Plus, if you haven't mastered the art of leaving a holiday party early, you can always familiarize yourself with the following emotional stages. With a little practice you'll be back in the comfort of your own home (with your kid's favorite toys, so they'll leave you the hell alone for a few minutes) in no time.
Stage 1: Slowly Gathering Your Coats
This is known as DEFCON 1 and are the necessary the first steps toward leaving. You've hopefully planted the idea in the minds of those around you, silently urging them to come your way and say goodbye without you having to make some awkward announcement.
Stage 2: Staying Goodbye To A Few People, Hoping They'll Just Tell Everyone Else You Left
In reality, however, they'll probably just prompt you to find every aunt and cousin and second uncle once removed by marriage, and tell them each a heartfelt, probably 15-minute-long goodbye before you leave.
Stage 3: Saying A Loud "Goodbye" To A Room Of People Definitely Not Listening
Yeah, nice try. Thought you could get it all done in one fell swoop, eh? Now you're standing here like a moron, talking to a wall, basically.
Stage 4: Sending Your Kid To Say The Goodbye For You
I mean, this is why you have kids, right? Unfortunately, this only works if your kid doesn't get lost in the sea of adult bodies.
Stage 5: Eat More Food While Your Kid Is Passed Around
At this point you might as well take a breather from the entire process, because you won't be getting your kid back for a little while. Of course, you can't necessarily blame anyone, either. Your kid is cute.
Stage 6: Realizing Your Kid Needs A Diaper Change
All the while, you're telling yourself that this could have been done at home, where you would be by now if this weren't such a long and lengthy process.
Stage 7: Proclaiming Your Plans To Go Warm Up The Car
Again, in the hopes that someone else will call out a good-natured, "Aww, you're leaving? OK, good night!" Right, but I'll give you points for effort here, but this proud proclamation will probably go ignored. You know, just like the rest of them.
Stage 8: Trying The Whole "Loud Goodbye" Thing Again
Hey, this time someone looked up from their dessert plate! Success!
Oh, nope. False alarm. Your uncle was just looking right past you at your cousin in the doorway, who has returned with more food and more drinks and dear god this process is never going to end. You will be stuck celebrating Christmas for another year.
Stage 9: Just Leaving
Your relatives are tipsy enough to be convinced that you gave them a hearty hug and goodbye, should you get called out for doing the absolute opposite and just leaving unannounced. You gave the entire process your best effort so, at this point, just cut your losses and run.