We all know the saying: You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family. We love them all, of course. Every last, endearingly idiosyncratic one of our extended family members, and we wouldn’t trade them for the world. But when the holidays come around, our list of things to do and places to go can grow as long as the photo lineup at Santa’s Village in the mall.
Sometimes you need a bit of space. A wee bit of family time that doesn’t include the whole family.
We hear you loud and clear. To help take a few things off your plate this holiday season, we’ve got your getaway guide—complete with excuses—to avoiding those relatives whom you love dearly, but who just can’t seem to take a hint.
The Relative: Great Uncle Mort
He’s been a part of your life for as long as you can remember (and longer). You know who he is—the one in the family photographs where, over the decades, you can see yourself changing but he looks eerily the same. To avoid this nettlesome nonagenarian as he takes over your television, here is your ready-made excuse:
“Oh, Uncle Mort. Yes, we know your back gives you trouble when it snows, and your bad knee means you can’t get up out of the recliner for more eggnog. You sweet dear. You rest here and watch your show while we sneak out to iFly.”
At iFly in Whitby, the whole family can have the sensation of skydiving without actually having to jump out of an airplane. Enjoy the thrill of a free-fall in this completely safe, supervised indoor environment. iFly is suitable for kids as young as four years old, and for all adventure-seeking adults of good physical health who meet iFly’s Flying Criteria. We are confident that you and your family will have the experience of a lifetime, and that Great Uncle Mort would be much happier staying behind, snoozing in your den with his slippers and remote.
iFly Whitby is located at 75 Consumers Dr. For information, call (289) 224-4000, or visit online at www.iflytoronto.com.
The Relative: Your Sister-in-Law, Priya
She’s mom of the year. She has five kids, she’s the chair of all the school committees, she runs her own real estate firm and she cooks dinner from scratch every night. Oh, and she does Mommy-and-Tot hot aerial yoga accounting (it’s the latest thing, she raves). You love her and her large, energetic brood in a small-doses kind of way. To avoid your sister-in-law this holiday season, we suggest the following:
“You’re coming this week, Priya? We totally forgot and booked tickets to Cirque Musica Holiday Presents: Wonderland. Just the two tickets, yes. We’re really sorry… What? No, you don’t hear snickering, why would we find that funny?”
The Cirque Musica Holiday Presents: Wonderland is an all-new concert experience which blends the spellbinding sensations of a symphony orchestra with the performances of acrobats, aerialists and circus performers. Showing at 7:00 pm on November 28th at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa, you will want to reserve your space well in advance. You don’t want to miss this fabulous opportunity before it’s sold out—which, if all goes to plan, will happen just before you let your sister-in-law know of this unfortunate calendar conflict so she can’t snag an extra seven tickets last-minute.
“Really? They’re all sold out? Aww, sorry, Priya. That’s too bad… [snicker]”
For information, visit www.tributecommunitiescentre.com/events.
The Relative: Grandpa
He loves his NHL and his cold ones. He wrestles with your kids when you’re trying to settle them for bed. At Sunday dinner, the mashed potatoes go to him first. Like Cher and Madonna, he’s an icon so legendary he has only one name: Grandpa.
Admittedly, all that legend in one household can be a bit much at times. To avoid Grandpa, we recommend:
“Gosh, Grandpa. We completely forgot that wine gives you heartburn, and we’ve made plans to meet friends at Adamo Estate Winery. Yes, we’re disappointed that we’re going to miss your latest fishing story, too, but we just can’t cancel.”
Leave the kids with Gramps for an evening and head to this award-winning boutique winery and tasting bar in Mono. With 23,000 vines and 25 acres, wine at Adamo is about farming first. The estate’s practices focus on respect for the environment by using organic methods and environmentally-friendly processes. Tastings are offered daily and no reservations are required.
Want to extend your evening away? Stop by Terra Nova Public House in Mulmur for dinner after your tasting. Surrounded by the natural beauty and rolling hills of the Pine River Valley, Terra Nova is a quaint, country-style restaurant located in a century building which, for many years, served as the local general store.
We’re certain Grandma won’t mind having the kids just a little bit longer. Even if Grandpa has pumped them full of sugar and sent them out into the backyard for gladiator-style parkour.
Adamo Estate Winery is located at 793366 3rd Line EHS. For information call (519) 942-3969 x 5100 or visit online at www.adamoestate.com. Visit Terra Nova Public House at 667294 20 Sideroad. Call (705) 466-5992 for reservations or check them out online at www.terranovapub.ca.
Bonus Option: When they just won’t take “No” for an answer
So, they won’t take the hint, huh? Despite our cleverly crafted hoodwinkery, there’s no way around it: you have to put in the facetime this holiday season. Don’t worry, we’ve got a solution for this, too. Why not take the whole family to Dave and Buster’s?
Whether your pleasure is billiards and bowling, video games or virtual reality, Dave and Buster’s has excitement to suit everyone. Who knows? Uncle Mort might just win the Dance Dance Revolution A challenge against the in-laws. Here’s the best part: while your family is off having a blast, you can take a breather at the table with your meal, or enjoy some big-screen sports in the bar… assuming, of course, that you don’t tap into your inner kid and indulge in a few games as well.
Go on. Treat yourself. You’ve done your bit, after all. The family is together, they’re having fun. And you don’t have the stress of entertaining on your shoulders or a sink full of dishes to clean afterwards.
Story by Katherine Ryalen