Families can be fun, feisty, humorous, difficult, stressful or all of the above. Family time during the holidays is what movies are made of.
Since families have so many different personalities, age groups, interests and agendas it is impossible to have everyone in agreement on how to celebrate the holidays.
Family time during the holidays can be more enjoyable if you remember to keep it simple. Don’t try to make it the perfect holiday -- there is no such thing.
Set realistic expectations and do small things to keep everybody happy. For example:
Set up for success!
One of the things that causes people to be irritable and grumpy is hunger. One easy way to avoid this is to have appetizers ready before your guests arrive.
Appetizers remove some of the pressure and quiet the hunger pains in children or adults. They don’t have to be fancy, just enough to hold people over until dinner gets on the table.
People always run late, some dish always takes longer than you expect and while people are waiting children get bored and then into trouble. Adults get bored and then into trouble.
Get the picture? By having food out for people to eat, it reduces the friction and the tension that turns into inappropriate conversations or problems at the dinner table.
Avoid emotional triggers.
Think before you speak to during conversations. If you know there are certain topics that will make you upset don’t get into a conversation with people about it.
When you hear the conversation come up take a deep breathe and say to yourself, I will not talk about this today. Or think about which topics you are sensitive about before the meal and construct answers before you get to dinner.
Examples of sensitive topics to consider are employment and career direction, marriage status, politics, sexuality, or religion, but really, it's anything that pushes your buttons.
Remember you are grown up.
Many of us go home and start to act like children again. If you have memories that are upsetting for the holidays take some time to think about what is upsetting you.