Help Key: How to get out of helping people with their new Christmas presents

Your brother just got a new digital camera. Your mom got a GPS device. Your grandfather got a Falcon Northwest gaming rig with six cores and a graphics card that requires its own physical plant. You’re stuffed, sleepy, and just want to watch TV. How do you distract these hordes long enough to get in another turkey sandwich and viewing of A Christmas Story? Follow these easy steps:

1. Distract – When sis walks up to you with a new DSLR, pick up the camera and set it to manual. Then fiddle with some dials. Then take some pictures – preferably bad ones. Then say: “Look, I’m no good at cameras/laptops/PDAs/iPhones. Set this thing on automatic for now and then read the manual.” You can also write down a list of helpful websites they can visit, CrunchGear being one of them, and encourage them to teach themselves to fish.

2. Disrupt – Bring your own piece of tech – an XBox 360, a Wii – and install it onto their equipment. Point out some of the ports they’ll find on the back of their new TV and then begin playing. Once you’re done, they’ll ask you to help them get their own tech to do what yours did. This gives you an opportunity to run through a basic checklist on a device you already own and understand and can teach on your way out the door.

3. Delineate – Feign ignorance after a certain point. Turn on your Mac? Sure! Best location to get porn? Wha? Install your webcam? Sure. Get it to work with Yahoo? Nope. Pick out a great camera? Buy the Canon I own. Find a way to get cool visual effects in Microsoft Paint? Not my department.

4. Detroit – None of your relatives live in Detroit, except Matt’s. Go there for Christmas. Don’t answer your phone. The city could use the tourist dollars.

These four tips will help you stay sane and happy during this weekend full of debauchery.