5 Ways To Enjoy The Holidays With Family
Blame it on the Hallmark channel and fairy tale Christmas flicks for convincing us that no matter what our family situation, the Holidays will make everything wonderful when everyone comes together. Maybe that happens for a few, but generally it takes more than decorations and cheery feelings to make those family gatherings memorable experiences. Here, we share a list of our favorite approaches to family gatherings.
1. CELEBRATE RELATIONSHIPS, DON’T TRY TO FIX THEM
If you have a bad relationship with family, Christmas and Thanksgiving are not the time to fix it. You have about 363 other days of the year to debate with Uncle Al about foreign policy or nag your little brother about getting a job. The Holidays are times to celebrate the relationships you’ve already built, not the time to parachute in and reform everyone’s life and world view.
If it turns out that debates of that kind are inevitable perhaps eating Thanksgiving with the family or a weeks Christmas vacay at mom and pops is not really the thing to do. Join the local Friendsgiving chapter or treat yourself to a Christmas at the Vatican where your prayers will probably do more good than your gifts.
2. MAKE A PLAN, SHARE A PLAN
Multiple options with multiple decision makers is a giant tangle of indecision waiting to happen.
No matter where you fall in the family line-up you have a right to orchestrate or at least have a hand in the scheduling of meals, Church services and parties. We all know what happens when there’s no structure to spending time—people disappear into the phone apps. So work with others to pre-plan your family time and send smartphone violators to load the dishwasher.
3. GOOD EXPERIENCES BEFORE GOOD GIFTS
We spend hours deliberating on the right gifts. What would happen if we spent the same amount of time thinking of the right words to say or how to make that one family member feel especially appreciated or unique? While gifts are absolutely awesome and sometimes useful, remember it’s the experiences that count and that’s something that depends just on you, not a Star Wars figurine.
4. GUARANTEE YOUR POPULARITY BY OFFERING HELP
It’s human nature for us to get tired of each other after about 48 hours but no one ever gets tired of the joyful helper. There’s always a cookie to be made, a table to be cleared, or a dish to be cleaned during a family Holiday. And if you’re still at a loss for acts of service, just make a White Russian. There’s always someone who wants a White Russian. Will you get a thank you? Probably not, but acts of service will make your host feel appreciated and burn your name onto the list of awesome family guests.
5. HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN
Sometimes we need an escape from things we love. I love dark chocolate, but if the Dark Chocolate Bunny were to give me a hug I would probably make a get-away. A great way to get that breath of fresh air is to employ the escape plan and get some alone time or just one-on-one time with someone:
“Pops, let’s take a look under the hood”
“Hey sis, let’s walk the dog”
“Looks like we’re low on cream for the White Russians, I’ll pick some up”
And you can always visit that 24 hour adoration chapel on the way to fill yourself with some goodness.
It is possible to have the perfect family Christmas; just don’t count on Christmas to make your family perfect. Employ some smart efforts and creative planning and let us know what works!
Johnny is an 80’s kid keeping analog values alive in a digital world. A committed outdoorsman, he enjoys art walks, pool parties, and talking about how cool it would be to go camping.