Help Your Family Get Along Over the Holidays

broken cookie The holidays are upon us, and that means there will be several family gatherings for you to attend. If you are like many people, you may be experiencing feelings of intense dread when you think about having to spend time with certain members of your family. This is especially true if your family happens to be dysfunctional, and prone to arguments. What can you do to survive these gatherings? Here is some advice to help you connect with your relatives, even when you don’t particularly want to.

If your family is especially large, what might be intended as a simple family Christmas party can easily turn into an impromptu family reunion. The difference is that this reunion is taking place when the weather is wintery, cold, and miserable, instead of in the summer when it is lovely to be outside, enjoying the weather.

Family get togethers that take place close to Christmas come with a lot of extra stress that might not happen at a summer reunion at a beach, for example. People may arrive already stressed out after driving through snow and ice. Children will be overly excited, both from the thoughts of Christmas, as well as from the sugary treats that seem to be everywhere at this time of year. There may be a lot of relatives who are worried about financial issues. There may be relatives who have to figure out when to leave this family gathering, in order to put in an appearance at another one, and that alone can cause arguments to occur. If alcohol is being served, this can only intensify whatever personal issues each individual may be dealing with.

So, what can you do to avoid fighting with dysfunctional family members this Christmas? Start by presenting your very best, most tolerant, self. Make sure you are smiling a friendly smile, (and not a grimace). Be prepared to present compliments, when it seems like the right time to do so. If you have relatives who are looking for a fight, make sure you don’t give them any reason to make you their target. Stay sober, and keep a cool head. Be ready to change subjects that are becoming heated by reminding everyone how blessed your family is to be able to spend time together around the holidays.

Image by iluvrhinestones on Flickr