The holiday season is always bittersweet. On one hand, most of us have a string of days off from work or school. On the other hand, we're expected to spend that time with our families instead of playing video games. Fear not! Here's a list of ten ways you can sneak away from the relatives and get in some gaming.

This article was originally posted on December 24, 2012, but the advice is still just as priceless today as it was then!

Excuse #10: "I'm just testing to make sure it works."
What could possibly be worse than opening a shiny new game on Christmas morning only to find out that it's broken? No one would want their child/sibling/parent/whoever to suffer such disappointment. Before you wrap that exciting new game up, explain to the powers that be that you should really pop it into your console and play the first couple of hours just to make sure it works.

Excuse #9: A Visit From Santa
If you're a gaming parent, Christmas Eve can be the perfect time to get in some digital entertainment after the children go to bed – as long as you plan ahead. Keep a string of bells beside you as you play; if a sleepy little intruder does barge in on your late night gaming marathon, just give them a jingle, open your eyes real wide, and ask, "Is that Santa?" They'll spend the rest of the night staring at the chimney while you play into the early morning hours. God bless the gullibility of children.

Excuse #8: "I don't want to be rude..."
Most people would consider it rude to play video games when the relatives are over – but isn't refraining from playing them even ruder?

This mind-blowing excuse turns the etiquette argument on its head. Consider the facts: a loved one went out of their way to buy you a video game that they know you'll love – wouldn't it be inconsiderate to simply set it aside in the pile of other opened presents and pretend it doesn't even exist until everyone goes home? You always have to immediately try on the ugly sweater your aunt buys you in order to spare her feelings; the same rule should apply for games.

Excuse #7: "Think of the children!"
Here's another classic excuse that hinges on playing the part of the selfless relative. The rambunctious nature of little children often means that they get a free pass to do as they please at family gatherings – as long as they're not torturing the dog or breaking stuff, no one really cares. Secretly ask your nieces/nephews/younger siblings/random neighborhood kids if they want to play video games – if they say yes, you're pretty much obligated to play with them. Remember, you're not secluding yourself from the other adults to selfishly play video games; you're being the considerate guardian who's entertaining the children.

Excuse #6: An Answer For Everything
Smartphones have been a boon for stealth gaming; no one can see what you're doing on your private screen, and there's a wealth of valid excuses for why your eyes might be glued to your mobile device. Use that to your advantage during family gatherings by volunteering to answer any questions your relatives may or may not have by "looking it up on your phone."

Who invented tinsel?  How long should you cook yams? What the hell are yams? After playing a game for five minutes, reply to your waiting family member that the answer is yes. If it's not a yes or no question, just say the results are inconclusive. If someone questions why your phone is making video game noises while you're supposedly looking up answers, just say it's a state-of-the-art device like the handheld computer Al had in Quantum Leap.

Coming Up Next: Five more incredibly stupid ideas...