• Alison Stratten

The Top 5 Types of Holiday Jackasses and How to Deal With Them


All I want for the holidays is...to be a Whisperer.


Years of extensive research (without arrest) have shown us that there are a few situations in life that are uniquely rife with Jackasses - long flights, lines at the DMV and currently on our heels, the holidays. It’s a troubling combination of factors that does it. Limited vacation time, tons of pressure and expectations, close quarters with those you love (even if you don't like them…), food and the opportunity for in-depth debate on current events and religion.


Seriously, is it even the holidays if you haven’t defended your veganism to your crotchety Uncle Derrick??? We don’t think so.


Jackasses are the purveyors of pet peeves - the small irritations in life that make our days needlessly harder. When encountering one, there are two ways to react - the jackass reaction, that pays the pain forward and the whisperer reaction, that stops the spread and makes the world a better place. The first step to not being the Jackass at the holidays is to realize that we are all the Jackass from time to time and prepare to whisper.


Here are our top 5 favourite (or least favourite?) holiday Jackasses.


1. The Jackass Won’t Say Happy Holidays


This Jackass insists on one, and only one, name for the season. They’ve planted their flag on this hill and are prepared to argue with anyone, anytime, in any place. Manners be damned. Wish them a “happy holidays” and you’ll be immediately met with a stern correction.


Jackass Reaction - This is literally your favourite part of the year. You’ve put “have heated religious debates with strangers” at the top of your wishlist and keep a vigilant watch for opportunities online and off. When the chance presents, you aggressively defend whichever stance is most likely to get the police involved.


Whisperer Reaction - Growing up Jewish and then raising kids, Alison has been wished the wrong holiday gazillions of times. You don’t know awkward until your five year old loudly corrects a bank teller with, “No, I’m not excited for Santa to come. He’s not real.” We all need to try and overlook the word choices and focus on the intent - holiday greetings are meant to be kind, so say thank you, smile and get your five-year-old out of there!


2. The Jackass Only Contributes Complaints


Every year, this Jackass comes over for the holidays empty-handed, never even bothering to ask if they can bring or do anything to help. Even though they’re on a special diet of only clear foods. Even though you have a job and kids and pets and are ya know, a bit busy. The Venn diagram of these guys and the Jackass Who Never Does a Dish, is just a circle.


Jackass Reaction - You’ve had it. This year, you’ve put in the work and researched Carol’s hated foods. You’ve crafted a menu so particularly repulsive she’s sure to get the message.


Whisperer Reaction - You’ve come to expect Carol’s sub-par contributions and planned around her. Being a whisperer is all about planning and perspective and you love her, really you do. Extra points if you suggest that she host dinner next year.


3. The Jackass Needs to Win Dinner


One of the nicest things about the holiday season is catching up with friends and family who you rarely see, however, this opens the door to one of our favourite Jackasses - Captain One-Upper. A conversation isn’t a competition and catching up shouldn’t have winners and losers. This Jackass would never let others to have the “best ever vacation.” They’re just here to win family dinner.


Jackass Reaction – Bring it on, Jackass! You name drop like crazy and tell them the story about breaking every bone in your body when skydiving with a chinchilla. Let’s see them top that!


Whisperer Reaction – Usually, you’d only agree to get together with this one when you’re in a listening mood, but the holidays mean you’re stuck with them. You know that other people’s happiness doesn’t change your own and are thankful for the Jackass’ story - at least you have time to get a refund on that skydiving trip you had planned for the Spring.


4. The Jackass’s Eyes are on their Phone


This Jackass is sharing your family table but keeps their eyes in their lap, even when we’re talking to them. We get it, they’re busy and important, but all you’re asking for is a few hours a year. You haven’t seen your cousin this distracted since she got a Cabbage Patch Doll in ‘82.


Jackass Reaction – You compose a passive-aggressive post for whichever platform they keep looking at about sharing a holiday dinner with a relative-who-shall-remain-nameless and how rude they are. Then you wait for the payoff.


Whisperer Reaction – As always, you set a good example and keep your phone holstered when seeing anyone face to face. When you’re ignored this way, you interrupt Tommy Texter and remind them family dinners only come around a few times a year.


5. The Jackass is a Documentarian


Speaking of phones, it seems to us that the ability to take photos and videos of anyone, anywhere should require some kind of training, license and permission. And yet, here we are. This Jackass thinks we’re all just content walking around waiting to be captured and they’ve planned a ten photo Instagram story this evening and you and your ragged hair have a starring role.


Jackass Reaction – If they want a movie, you’re gonna give them one to remember. What should you go with today? No pants? No shirt? Totally naked cowboy with a guitar over your business? There’s just so many to choose from! Bonus points if they’re holiday-themed.


Whisperer Reaction – Basically, you adopt a “nothing to see here” attitude and go about being your awesome self. If you’re hosting, you put aside enough time to put on clean clothes before your guests arrive, at least that way you won’t repeat the viral mumu incident of 2017.


In life, we’re all the Jackass and we’re also all the Whisperer, and sometimes the difference between the two is a cup of coffee and a little forethought. It’s that easy. Say kind things to others, be considerate of their time and share space more often than you share your own opinion. The holidays are meant to be a time of community and family, of warmth and giving, so please for the love of Elf on the Shelf try to think of others before yourself. Otherwise, we have a fruitcake and a lump of coal with your name on it


Love and Happy Holidays,


Scott and Alison


For more Jackasses and reactions, at work, at home and on the road, check out The Jackass Whisperer by Scott and Alison. You can also submit your favourite (or not so favourite) Jackasses at using the contact form

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