December 10, 2015 05:00 PM

The holidays are great and all, but if there’s one for-sure byproduct that comes from getting a bunch of far-flung relatives together in close quarters, then adding booze, it’s arguments. Usually political, though possibly also personal.

And because we’re the fun, peace-loving type here at PEOPLE, we’re here to help. When you feel the creeping sensation of a percolating argument start to crawl up the back of your neck, sneak a peek at this list for a quick and easy line that will defuse the situation. (And by defuse, we mean “start a different argument.” We didn’t say this would be bloodless. Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.)

“So do you have any new pictures of your kids?”

“How much homework are kids getting these days?”

[Literally anything about your relative’s children]

“Uncle [Your Eldest and Most Crotchety Uncle’s Name], what do you think about [Your Most Rebellious Cousin]’s [Piercing/Tattoo/Haircut]?”

“So you went on another cruise recently, I heard?”

“How was the flight?” (Note: This is probably the most versatile of any of these; it can be used in literally any situation, even if said person drove for the holidays. People love complaining about air travel, and even asking can momentarily divert them to thinking about their most recent flight, which may have been some time ago. But they’ll think about it and want to complain.)

“How’s the band going?”

“How’s the improv troupe going?”

“How’s the [Insert Whatever Ill-Advised Creative Undertaking the Family Black Sheep Is Currently Undertaking] going?”

“Do you guys remember when [Insert Fondly Remembered Family Memory in No Way Related to Controversial Topic at Hand]?”

“You guys caught up on Jessica Jones? David Tennant was way better than he was in Doctor Who, right?”

“No, I mean, I haven’t seen all of Doctor Who.”

“Yeah, I’m just not into esoteric British sci-fi that much.”

“Calm down, Grandma. I don’t think I’m bringing shame on our family by not liking Doctor Who.”

“Fine, I’ll give it a shot.”

” in the year NEVER.”

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