The holidays are a great time to get together with your family members and in-laws and share the Christmas love and cheer. However, it can be a nightmare for some of us as family gatherings can often bring out the worst in most people. Here we are going to discuss some of the simplest and most effective ways to survive gatherings with difficult family members and reduce the holiday stress.
“Families always have these unspoken dramas, and at holidays, everyone is supposed to sit down and pretend that none of that is going on.” – Richard LaGravenese
Surviving Holiday Gatherings With Less Drama
The arrival of autumn also means that we’re on the edges of the holiday season. And with that comes a slew of holiday gatherings. Turkey and dressing with the in-laws. Latkes and a cherished family Dreidel. The school holiday play and the office Christmas party. And there are also the more intimate holiday gatherings – like decorating the Christmas tree while sipping hot cocoa (or spiked eggnog).
When we imagine treasured and perfect holiday gatherings, we hope for ones that are filled with love and cherishing. That despite hot messes of previous experiences, that this year will be different. Rather than drama, we will be able to experience the holiday spirit at every turn.
We look forward to sharing delightful meals, making beautiful memories, and being surrounded by loving and supportive friends and family.
Let’s be real, though. Most holiday gatherings – be they with family or friends – can feel like a minefield. And as if you’re gearing up for battle rather than an opportunity for joyful companionship with loved ones.
The holidays can trigger even the friendliest of folks to act in…shall we say… less than loving ways.
Though we become accustomed to the little ways our families are dysfunctional (and accept them as normal), it doesn’t mean we leave every holiday gathering feeling loved and accepted. Even the most amiable of folks don’t always treat the people not born into a family (aka spouses, partners, step-children) with the level of kindness they show to their friends and blood-relations.
“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.” – Anthony Brandt
Oh, let’s be even more honest: some of our in-laws are nicer to strangers and mangy dogs than they are to us. And then there are the siblings we desperately want to be friends with, but who seem unable to utter a kind word.
When our desire is simply to enjoy what’s before us and cruise through the end of the year without drama, holiday gatherings can feel like stepping onto a battleship. Whatever holidays are part of your tradition, here are some suggestions for navigating – and surviving – the holiday gatherings.
Tips for Surviving Holiday Gatherings With Less Drama
Here are 10 tips for Surviving Holiday Gatherings With Less Drama.
1. Not Everyone is Going to Like You
Call me a Pollyanna, but I look at meeting someone as an opportunity to make a dear friend. So, I’m always shocked when someone isn’t friendly. The truth is, not everyone is going to like you. Maybe you remind them of someone who was mean to them in junior high. Maybe they see you as a threat to their place in the family. If someone doesn’t like you, there really isn’t much you can do to change their mind. In fact, the harder you try, the meaner they may become.
This isn’t your all-access pass to being rude. Just stop trying to make everyone like you because it’s only going to stress you out.
2. Acceptance Goes a Long Way to Not Stressing Out
When you make the decision to accept the situation as it is, you can release a heck of a lot of stress. You stop trying to bend over backward to change someone’s opinion. Accept that nothing you do or say is likely to change the cranky person’s beliefs about you, and move on to a different encounter.