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10 Songs For Surviving Holiday Family Gatherings

Evans, Getty Images
The holidays can be rough. As if enduring bad weather, spending tons of money and sitting through Target commercials weren’t bad enough, it's the one time of year you're obligated to spend with family. Whether you're returning home for the first time since last year or just preparing yourself for this year's onslaught of fights, our latest Super Specific Weekly Playlist gives you Songs for Surviving Holiday Family Gatherings. These 10 tunes are your best chance — at least until the booze kick in.


'Booze Me Up and Get Me High'

Ween
 
 

If your strategy for surviving a family gathering is to be completely blacked out the entire time, this Ween song can be your holiday anthem. With the lines, “I'm not feelin' bad myself / 'Cause there's another bottle on the shelf,” mom’s criticisms don’t sting nearly as much as they did when you were a kid.

 

'This Is Why We Fight'

The Decemberists
 
 

Though the lyrics may not be about family rivalry, this Decemberists song makes it clear that conflict is an inevitable part of life. “Come the war” over the new boyfriend or girlfriend you brought home, or “come hell” about the fact you voted for Obama, rest assured knowing that these spats are good for the soul.

 

'We're A Happy Family'

The Ramones
 
 

This tongue-in-cheek tale of the life in Queens features a drugged-up mom, gay dad and fly-eating baby, which might actually make your brood seem normal by comparison. Even in this schizophrenic New York family, where their “troubles never end," and there are "no Christmas cards to send,” everyone's thankful they have each other.

 

'Been A Son'

Nirvana
 
 

If you’ve never quite felt accepted in your own family, chances are your parents had different expectations. At least that’s what Kurt Cobain’s thinks in his tale of family dysfunction, where everything you should have become is the result of your not being a son. Whatever your shortcomings, this song of “shouldas” helps ease the blow of returning home for the holidays, even if nobody wants you there anyway.

 

'Alcohol'

Gogol Bordello
 
 

These gypsy punks know a thing or two about numbing the pain, and their ode to alcohol -- a must-have for our list of Songs for Surviving Holiday Family Gatherings -- resembles a lot of familial relationships: You’ve seen me at my worst, and you may beat me down, but I’m still glad you’re in my life. Or as Eugene Hutz mumbles in thick Eastern European accent, “I'll pick up every time you call / Just to thank you one more time/ Alcohol, alcohol, alcohol.”

 

'The First Song'

Band of Horses
 
 

While not a full-blown Christmas song, this Band of Horses track paints a pretty abstract picture of suffering through the season. After getting drunk on Bordeaux as Christmas passes by, you realize you've suffered enough, and you're ready to be pretty much anywhere else.

 

'Fourth Night of My Drinking'

Drive-By Truckers
 
 

This Drive-By Truckers song -- the next entry on our list of Songs for Surviving Holiday Family Gatherings -- plays like a boozed-up 'Twelves Days of Christmas,' with a nightly recounting of all the things that go wrong when you hit the bottle. Just like your yearly visit home for the holidays, things may start out all well and good, but eventually, someone has to cut you off.

 

'The Opposite of Hallelujah'

Jens Lekman
 
 

Your family may not understand you or the things you go through all year, so save yourself some time by simply saying, “Sister, it’s the opposite of Hallelujah.” After all, it’s easiest to not even try all those metaphors that fall flat anyway.

 

'The Hardest Button to Button'

The White Stripes
 
 

The holidays are the perfect time to resurrect any lingering hostility and rivalry toward your family, and this White Stripes song will rev you up for anything your clan throws your way. Even Jack White has wanted to throw down with his sibling at some point.

 

'Do You Realize??'

The Flaming Lips
 
 

There are certain moments with the family where you are actually thankful you got stuck with these people. And when Wayne Coyne sings, “Do you realize/ That everyone you know someday will die,” you do realize that these people really aren't that bad.

 

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