How to Avoid Family Drama
I love getting together with friends and family during the holiday season. I never laugh harder than when I am with my husband and kids as well as my siblings and their spouses. I don’t laugh a lot, so that is saying something. The older I get the more important it is for me to avoid family drama. Especially during the holidays where family drama causes anxiety in young children.
I am sure you have seen pictures of well dressed, happy families, sitting around an immaculately decorated dinning room table, feasting on great food and conversation. This is the ideal, picture-perfect holiday sight, but most families live in a far more chaotic scene.
There may be a sarcastic remark here and there. Perhaps one of your siblings loves picking fights with the family over politics or religion. And maybe by the end of the season, someone is crying and vowing never to speak to a brother or sister ever again. If you would like to bring more peace and harmony to your holidays, here are some tips on how to avoid family drama.
5 tips on how to avoid family drama this holiday season:
1. Discuss Your Holiday Plans Well in Advance. Where is Thanksgiving dinner going to be? When and where is the Christmas celebration going to be? Who is hosting what party when? When planning events in advance, you will avoid conflicting schedules and problems with family or friends deciding how you will spend your holiday. Sometimes a family meeting is necessary
• The safest time to approach your extended family with your desired holiday plans is in early fall. Any sooner and people are likely to forget your plans. Any later, and other family members will begin to approach you with their plans and ideas first.
2. Let Your Wants and Needs Be Known. Do you want to take a break from going to your Mother in law’s cabin for Christmas this year? Then speak up. You don’t have to be snarky about it, but I am sure if you approach her in a kind manner, she will respect your wishes.
• No one ever said that you can’t start your own holiday traditions. If your new tradition is to spend Christmas with just your spouse and children, then go for it. Your parents have had their chance to create their memories, and now it’s your turn. Seize the day!
3. We Must Compromise. The holidays are about family. It’s important to get what you want during the holiday festivities, but be willing to compromise just a little during the holidays to satisfy the needs of everyone in the family. Sometimes my family celebrates Christmas weeks before so that everyone who can be there is there.
• Another compromise is to be open to ideas on centerpieces and side dishes. It’s ok to follow someone else’s holiday traditions, but if it is contrary to how you celebrate, you don’t need to feel bullied. The holidays are supposed to be peaceful.
4. Do You Have a Turkey Debate. Many families debate about who gets to cook the turkey. But generally, the person who hosts the event in their home is responsible for cooking the turkey or the stuffing.
• Speak with the hostess to ensure that you’re all on the same page. Ideally, one person will be in charge of baking the desserts. The hostess usually takes care of the turkey and decorations, and the side dishes can be split up equally among willing family members. Notice the word “willing”. Not everyone can or wants to provide a side dish. It’s no big deal.
5. Who is Going to Be at the Event? Another cause for family drama is battling over the guest list. Luckily, there is simple fix: who ever is hosting is generally the person that can invite guests. If you want to invite someone that isn’t on the guest list, ask the hostess if that person can be invited.
• If you’re the hostess and are receiving numerous requests to invite unwanted guests, it is ok to say no. A simple, “this is an immediate family only event” will suffice. This response is short, inoffensive, and effective.
Believe it or not, many families have holiday drama. Whether it’s an unruly teenager or toddler, a demanding mother-in-law, or a rivaling sister that is always trying to outdo you, the power to put a stop to this unnecessary behavior is within each of us.
The ultimate recipe for putting a stop to holiday drama is a small dose of speaking up, a pinch of compromise on some things, and just a touch of strength to say “No” if needed. With these ingredients, you can create a family holiday celebration that’s remembered for all the right reasons.
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