The Banisher Guide to Surviving the Holidays

It’s the middle of the Dark Times, the period between All Hallow’s and the Winter Solstice. You’ve been fighting for weeks now against incursions on your sanity–be they  supernatural or just the soul-sucking combination of Daylight Savings Time and year end responsibilities.

Image result for existential dread

Now it’s time for the greatest fight yet–a holiday with family.

True, this holiday has all the best food, but it also comes without distractions. There are no presents to open or discreetly trade. There are no deafening fireworks, no pools in which to submerge yourself. You are alone in this. But you do not have to be unarmed.

Here are the Banisher tips for surviving Thanksgiving!

Suit up.

Armor is key. You don’t hunt a manticore in flip flops. Nor do you attend Grandma’s house in them (usually). Now, everyone is different and has different tactics but you should consider yours before the day of the battle. Do you want to blend? Carefully study the pack you’re hunting. Recall what their carapaces looked like in the past, and do your best to match it. If this is difficult for you, you may enlist aid, but beware–it may come at a price, such as an excursion to a Nice Store or worse, the Land Of Departments, likely with another human.

If blending seems to expose you in a way you’d rather not endure, your other options are provoking attack or being impenetrable. Provoking attack is a form of distraction. It’s consciously choosing some part of you that will be the focus of the fight so that the rest goes unnoticed. In American monster homes, this is often a tie when no one else is wearing a tie, a skirt that is “too short” or “bold” color choices.

An iconic example of provocation.

There are other ways of doing this, so give it thought and adapt it to your own needs. The last option is to be impenetrable by being impeccable. Rent the runway. Wear a full cashmere track suit. Be so superior that all attacks on your person are rendered to mere annoyances.

Bring the right weapons.

For God’s sake do not walk in empty-handed. Pie, wine, spirits harder than wine (and we do mean liquor, don’t you dare break banisher code by showing up with a banshee, even if they deserve it). Babies work excellently for this, provided they are ones you may legally and readily access. Stolen babies are, at best, just going to buy you some time, but not enough to make it a worthwhile gambit unless you have no other choice.

Bob and weave, damn you.

Dodge like a politician. Pivot for all you’re worth. Common attacks are “Why are you single?” “When are you having kids?” “Why aren’t you like your [sibling/parent/cousin]?” and “Do you really need to have four slices of pie?” “How about that news/politics story?”

Coat yourself in leftover Crisco if you must, but be slippery like the floor onto which you just dropped butter. There is no right way to answer these questions. Just tuck and roll. Why are you single? Too much of a good thing isn’t good. Kid timeline? You actually have been considering goats for your grass mowing needs. Dietary concerns? Did you know that a man in Italy says he can perform head transplants? Don’t need a body if you can swap ’em!

Be like the wind, free and swift.

You knew this was coming. It, like my betrayal, was inevitable. And sudden.

Call for back up.

If you have allies at the gathering, arrange for codes. If you don’t, “forget” to silence your phone and tell someone to call you. Bonus points, if it’s someone you can pretend is your romantic partner or your work, you’ll have arranged for new distractions for several minutes.

Know when to quit.

If your energy flags before the wine does, run away. Regroup, you’ll have to do this again in a month. Outline the lessons learned and revise your plan of attack. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, and there are too many monsters out there to meet your end this soon.


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