While we love spending time with extended family, sometimes (or often) it’s also a big time of stress and conflict. Stresses like these dealing with family and friends can happen more often during the holidays, but also in other instances such as other events and weddings. The Holiday disagreements happen. But if it’s one thing learned over the years, that keeps me cool during this stressful season is having my partner and I being on the same page specifically for the holidays. Stress tends to build up and there are times when family members can lose their cool, so the next time you argue with your partner during the stressful holidays, consider this calm down themes/points:
Be On The Same Team
With your husband, spouse, partner, boyfriend, fiance, approach the seasonal holiday party(parties) with a game plan. Anticipate the issues, issue spots on what’s going to happen, and address them before they become issues. We know our families, so addressing the hot button topics with your partner. Between each other as couple, fill each hother in on day-to-day going’s on whats currently happening within each other’s extended family members.
Sit down for a few minutes and discuss in preparation for the family party. Usually, my boyfriend and I discuss our plan during the commute to the party. Our drives to family parties are usually 30-45minutes, so we’re able to catch up on “who’s not talking to who,” or “don’t bring up that..”
One thing to remember at the end of the night, is although you’re dealing with friends and extended family members, whatever happens during the party, at the end of the night you’re going home with your significant other. It’s all about supporting each other, and even if you disagree with whatever’s happening within the family, present yourself as a unified friend. Deal with it at home.
Find The Humor
When at the family party, however the situation presents itself, go there with a smile, and just find the humor it in all. Weather it’s your teenage brother fighting with his girlfriend in the other room, or your mother complaining about why your children don’t want to wear a bow-tie, or your little nephew crying during prayer. Whatever it is, find the humor. Remember, this is a time of gathering, you don’t meet with these people on a daily, nor live with them on a day to day basis, so if you’re on vacation seeing family, don’t push anyones buttons, accept other peoples behaviors, and just take a step back, smile, and find the humor in it all.
There’s a reason why you showed up to Thanksgiving. It’s your family. They may be far from being perfect, but you oviously accept them for who they are, and they accept you for who you are. People are not going to change, you will not change for your family, nor don’t assume they want you to be a certain way. Your family isn’t going to change into the way you want them to be.
Level set your expectations. The internet, social media, and TV portrays the holidays as a perfect family gathering. So your expectations don’t always have to be so ideal. You got to get realistic with what your expectations are with your family especially during these times of events such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.
One thing my boyfriend has taught me, which has some harsh truth to it is “Set your exceptions low.” Although there is some level of truth to it, it works. When gathering together, you know exactly the personality traits in which your family members have, so accept it, and leave that level of expectation there. That way you know how to handle their behavior and any sudden occurrences. At most times, you find out you’ll end of having a good time.
Leave At It’s Peak
While at the party, when everyone is having a good time, that is honestly the best time you can leave. It’s a common trick to practice during family events. I’ve been practicing for quite awhile, because of the crazy amounts of family holiday parties my family is invited to, somehow we’ve managed to show face to each one in previous years. (One year we did 4 Thanksgiving Parties!!! In one day!!!!!) Yes. It’s exhausting, but if you follow the common tips above it helps me deal with the overload, in dealing with extended family, and family gatherings. Leaving on a high note, keeps that engrained memory of family fun fresh in your head. As you leave the party, and drive off, it’s the last memory you and your family will have. It is a little heart breaking to leave, but trust me, it’s the best way to avoid the low, after all the partying, the food coma, and then grumpy children.
How do you deal with holiday stress and what keeps you calm? Do you sit with your significant other and plan ahead? Or do you deal with the crazy in-laws and extended family, knowing something always erupts? Holiday traveling is a lot to deal with, especially with having children. Do you avoid the parties, and just take a vacation away from it all? Let me know you’re thoughts, and how you manage to deal with the holiday season!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!