You’ve finished your holiday shopping, wrapped your gifts, baked your Christmas cookies, and now it’s time for a family get-together. Many of us look forward to seeing family on the holidays, but the happiness can quickly dissolve if family drama ensues.
Safety Girl is at your side with a few tips for a stress-free holiday season.
Host a better dinner or party. Make bringing family members and friends together for Christmas dinner tension-free:
- Mix friends and family. Guests are more likely to act with kindness and civility when they are unfamiliar with some of the other guests. If you know friends who are staying in town for the holidays and don’t have anywhere to go, invite them to your party. Not only will they act as buffers for any difficult family members, but they also might be overjoyed to be invited to celebrate with your family.
- Rely on the funny guy (or girl). Everyone’s family has a joker, so rely on him or her to break the ice with a joke or humorous comment. A little bit of laughter will make everyone feel more at ease.
- Smile. It’s the holiday season, after all. Numerous studies have shown that smiling, whether you’re happy or not, can make you feel happier and less anxious. Studies have also shown that smiling creates a positive and comforting effect for those around you.
Say the right thing. Some topics just shouldn’t be up for discussion at a Christmas party. If you know what sets your mother-in-law off, for example, don’t have that conversation. Touchy subjects usually include, tense sibling relationships, other family members’ relationship problems (including divorce and separation), money, religion, politics, and past arguments.
Take a break. Whether you’re a house guest or if you’re hosting, it’s important to take time for yourself, whether you feel like you need it or not. If you need a break, go in the other room and call a friend, take a walk or jog, listen to music, or even offer to run to the grocery store. When you return, you’ll feel ready to engage with your family 100%.