Coping with family over the holidays

The holidays are a time of celebration, and is when most families get together to eat, drink and be merry. Often, the holidays are the only time of year when the whole family makes an effort to be together. This can be a lovely sentiment, but can also put a lot of pressure on everyone for the occasion to be perfect. Even the closest of families can experience tension during the holidays, especially if you will all be staying in close quarters. Avoid arguments, and get the very best out of the season with these tips on coping with family over the holidays.

Know it’s not going to be perfect

Much of the stress created by the holidays originates from the belief that everything must be perfect. From the picture-perfect table settings, to the decorations, presents, and family singalongs – some people expect everything to go without a single hitch. However, life is rarely so simple. Vegetables may get burnt, kids may be running wild, and people may not even notice the effort you have put into the décor. All these things can certainly be frustrating, but allowing mishaps to dictate your feelings for the entire event will surely put a dampener on the entire holiday. Of course, put the effort in to making it a beautiful gathering but try not to flip out over anything that could go wrong. Being OK with less than perfect is one way to remain stress-free.

Allocate roles

Rather than becoming overwhelmed by all the things you need to do, allocate roles to various family members to help things go smoothly. This can be asking someone to oversee cooking certain foods, or making sure someone is entertaining the children while dinner is being prepared. Those that don’t want to be involved in the cooking should be prepared to help with the washing up and tidying once the meal is done. Allocating jobs in this way makes for less stress for you, and more time for everyone to enjoy the day. Simple Family Preparedness has some great tips on how to prepare for situations like this, including recipes for special family occasions.

Don’t rise to the bait

You may have felt compelled to invite that one person who never fails to insult you, be it intentionally, or just because they are tactless. No matter what sly dig they make, don’t retaliate. Remember, you are only around them for a brief time, and they are just one person out of a whole host of other people at the celebrations. If you are spending the holidays in your own home with invited family, and somebody is rude, simply remember not to invite them next time. If it is the host that attempts to belittle you at every family gathering, politely decline the invitation to spend the holidays with them, and explain why. You don’t have to be around toxic people, but you also don’t need to stoop to their level by returning the insults.

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