The holidays are almost here. Can you believe it?
Some of you are counting down to long-awaited reunions with those you love. Some of you are dreaming of turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie. And some of you are thinking, “How am I going to deal with my crazy family?“
If you’re in the last camp, and you’d like to keep the family drama to a minimum this holiday season, here are 7 tips to keep the peace.
1. Do a reality check—and do it now, before the big event. The stakes are higher over the holidays, so now’s the time to remind yourself to be realistic and keep your expectations reasonable. Now’s the time to think about what’s likely to be problematic, and what you can do about it.
2. Get yourself ready. If your family gatherings tend to be stressful, make sure you are well prepared. Get enough sleep, eat some real food before you arrive, and don’t drink too much (coffee, alcohol, whatever).
3. Talk with everyone. Those of you with giant families know what I’m talking about. If there are 30 people at an event it can be hard to actually speak to everyone: make sure you do it. (And of course, if you’re speaking with everyone that also indicates that you’re actually on speaking terms with everyone–which is a very good thing.) Make the effort to talk to your shy nephew, or chat up the girlfriend who hardly knows anyone.
4. No baiting. If we want fireworks at our family gatherings, we can toss out Occupy Wall Street as conversation fodder. Or the presidential election. Or recycling! Passionate family members will rise to the challenge. If you don’t want fireworks at your holiday gathering, keep the peace by knowing what’s off limits.
5. No trash talking. Don’t gossip about other family members. Period. This is really tempting for me over the holidays, because I’m always tempted to do some female bonding with my sisters-in-law over some juicy family gossip. That’s not a bad reason to gossip—but there are better reasons not to. Don’t do it.
6. Be a good sport. Do what you can to go with the flow. If your family loves Trivial Pursuit, get ready to play some Trivial Pursuit.
7. Be grateful. Find something to be thankful for. After some family gatherings, I’m grateful that I am blessed with such a wonderful family. After some family gatherings, I’m grateful that I get to go home with my husband—and not all those crazy people we just had dinner with.
Do you deal with family drama? What are your best tips for dealing with difficult family members?