Making It Through the Family… I Mean, the Holidays


Welcome to the family…er, holidays! Does this holiday scenario sound familiar to you? You go home to open arms. No criticism. Everyone agrees. There’s no place you’d rather be!OR, you try to avoid your family, which causes tension. You arrive anyway. It’s awkward. It feels obligatory. And you can’t wait to get it over with. How will we ever make it through the family holiday?

family Holiday

All families have their thing:

  • The obnoxious uncle
  • The overzealous grandmother
  • The football fanatic cousin
  • The political analyst brother in-law
  • The “perfect” mother who doesn’t understand why your kids aren’t behaving
  • And yes, there can be the FUN aunt that makes it worth it!

You get a little bit of everything and pumpkin pie for dessert!

Regardless of the family things that bother us, we end up spending time with our family during the holidays, and we come up with ways to manage ourselves…even if it is a few cocktails! While a cocktail (or three) helps, what if there were a few decisions you could make ahead of time that could actually help you enjoy your family holiday? Maybe even your obnoxious uncle!

Here are Three Tips to Making it Through the Family Holiday:

1. Set a Time Limit

Decide what amount of time will work best for you and your family. Maybe it’s just an hour. Maybe it’s three. If you are coming in from out of town, how many days? Have a time in mind before you get there. It’s also a good idea to let the host(ess) know as well, if you think that will be helpful.

2. Prepare For Conversation

This is where you get to mind your thoughts. Remind yourself that everyone has a different perspective and it likely won’t match your own. There is no doubt you will have a judgement about what other people are saying, because you are human, and there will most likely be judgement about what YOU say as well. The key is to keep your cool by understanding that no matter what you say, you will not change their mind in a two-hour family holiday visit (or ever, for that matter.) Instead, listen to their words. You may actually learn something.

3. Remember You Only Have Control Over Yourself

Despite your “perfect” sister-in-law telling you that her kids “never act that way,” lashing back won’t have a positive effect. You can feel annoyed, angry, or offended all you want, but you get to choose how to react to it, and it doesn’t have to be volatile. Feel that feeling…let it be there, but choose to think  something like this, “I’m taking the high road,” or, “I’m an amazing mom,” and choose to ignore it or let it go.

These three tips will not come naturally if you’ve never practiced thought work before. You’ll really need to tap into what you are thinking, and how that thought makes you feel. Every feeling you have, drives an ACTION. And those actions will either start a perfect storm or calm the turbulent sea. It’s YOUR choice. (There it is again; you get to choose!) And if you still need a cocktail to find your sea legs during your family holiday, then cheers to you!

Happy Thanksgiving and Enjoy Your Family Holiday!