Surviving a Family Holiday


Welp, we did it mamas. We survived Thanksgiving. We are firmly ensconced in “The Holidays.” I hope your Thanksgiving was a smashing success! My holiday was perfect. And difficult, and teary, and messy, and filled with laughter, and buckets of love, and I only felt stabby a couple of times. It’s never all one thing is it?!

Christmas is now barreling down on us. Feel that freight train at your back? Let me tell you this: You got this, mama. You do. 

survive the holidays

There were lessons to be learned from our Thanksgiving holidays. This year I’m committed to paying attention to the lessons and implementing a few strategies that are sure to make things easier. Here are FOUR ways to help you survive the holidays this season:

1. Everyone has a role to play. 

Let them play their role. Be at peace with the fact that your MIL is going to criticize how you are potty training (again), your cousin is going to be weird about the fact that you put bacon on the brussels sprouts (now they are no longer vegan, what’s wrong with you?! *dramatic eye roll*), your kids won’t eat anything but a dinner roll (because, well, kids), and quite possibly at least one person will drink too much and make a you-know-what of themselves (the holidays are stressful). These are the parts that they play; so to survive the holidays, just sit back, watch it unfold, and when it is your turn to say your line, say it. 

2. Give them some grace. 

We are all human and we are doing the best that we can. I know it’s hard to believe that your uncle is doing the best he can as he spouts fiery political monologues, but choose to think he is. And, really wouldn’t your MIL’s “best” look more like a celebration of your excellent parenting skills?! Or at the very least biting her tongue? Probably, but you’ll feel better if you acknowledge that maybe she just can’t do it right now. We don’t know why. She’s obviously not as emotionally evolved as you. Give your family some grace so you can survive the holidays with them.

3. Set Boundaries. 

It is best to do this before the holiday begins. While everyone is still sane. Do you need to be the one in charge of the turkey? Or NOT in charge of the turkey? Do you need to have everyone not stay at your house? Maybe you need your own transportation while staying with your in-laws? These things are all reasonable, and will help you survive the holidays. Make the plans ahead of time. Talk about it with the other involved parties. And have a plan for implementation. 

4. Drink water. Lots of it. 

When in doubt, drink more water than you think you need. This strategy has multiple benefits. You will be hydrated and feel better because they tell me we are 85% water, so I guess it’s important. Also, the adorable young people at Kiehl’s tell me if I pair all that water with their $85 plumping serum it makes my forty-one-year-old skin look better. So, there’s that. Aaaaannnd, here’s the biggie: being extra super duper hydrated makes you have to pee. A lot. The bathroom is your sanctuary. Buy some delightful new hand lotion and stash it in the top drawer, and spend some extra time in there to survive the holidays. A mini spa, if you will. 

This time of year is lovely and fun and magical. And stressful and expensive and difficult. Parenting is challenging on a random day in September, it’s extra hard when everyone’s expectations are so damn high. So, above all, be kind to yourself. 

You got this! You can survive the holidays!