6. Stay neutral
When visiting your toxic family for the holidays, stick to neutral topics and conversations. You can also think of some funny experiences you had throughout the year and share them with your family. When you have strained relationships with family members, spending time with them can be a challenge. So it’s best to avoid heavy topics like politics or religion. Talk about things that you all enjoy like food, cars, Christmas movies, camping, vacations, and even the Christmas tree.
7. Try to have fun
“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” – Charles Schulz
No matter how toxic your family is, they’re still your family. And you can still enjoy your time at home. So have a positive mindset and banish all the negativity. Plan an enjoyable activity, watch a great Christmas movie, play a game that everyone can enjoy and inspire everyone to share their favorite Christmas story. Use your positive attitude to put some much needed ‘fun’ into your dysfunctional family.
8. Act mature
When spending time with our family, we often tend to regress to childish behavior. However, you need to keep in mind that you’re an adult now and you need to act like one. Remind yourself of your achievements, your personal life, and your age. So when a negative emotion or thought surfaces, choose to act in a mature way instead of acting out like a teen.
9. Have an exit strategy
If things become really toxic around your home, they can pay to have an exit strategy. A simple emergency phone call from a friend or maybe a prior engagement can come in handy when things start going downhill. Plan an exit strategy ahead of your visit for some peace of mind.
10. Understand what you can control
“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.” – Janice Maeditere
Regardless of what history you share with your family, you can always use the holiday time to start making things better. Your family may offend you on a regular basis or maybe they have caused deep emotional wounds. But this is not the time to focus to dwell on what hurts you. Instead, use Christmas as the time to heal your own self and be as strong as you can be. Make sure you have enough mental resilience and emotional strength to go through this.
Tell yourself that no one can affect you, your thoughts or your emotions without your permission. So show enough love, compassion, and kindness to yourself as you go through this difficult time. When you realize the only thing you can control is yourself and the only one who can control you is you, then the toxicity in your family will not be so damaging to your emotional and mental health.
11. Enjoy the holidays
“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” – W. T. Ellis
When you set realistic expectations and let go of high hopes, you can finally start enjoying the little joyful moments that come with Christmas. Despite what Hollywood might show us, in real life, the holidays are rarely like uplifting movies. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience a little Christmas cheer even if you have a difficult family. Look for moments that spread the joy of Christmas and create moments that your entire family can enjoy and cherish. Although there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas, miracles can happen anytime.
Spread the Christmas cheer
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. – Bill Vaughan
Understand that it’s absolutely okay to not have a perfect family or a perfect Christmas. It’s okay to argue and it’s okay if your parents criticize you. Families tend to be like that. And the fact remains that not everyone has the opportunity to spend Christmas with their family. You’re among the lucky ones despite what you may feel right now.