No matter if you have a large family or a small one, chances are you have less than positive feelings about spending the entire day under one roof with your family or at least parts of your family. Over the years I have had different experiences with this and maybe I can offer some advice.
I think first of all we need to be honest with ourselves. Just because we have passed around the calendar once again does not mean miracles have happened and your family has finally found a way to be normal. I think this particular idea is best explained by… let’s call her “Skye”’s family. Now I was a close bystander to witnessing this family situation play out year after year. Skye would get excited for the holidays, thinking that her and her mother’s relationship had improved so much that this year would be the year that everything would go smoothly and she would be able to enjoy the holidays. Except every year two to three weeks before Christmas Skye’s mom would lose her self-control and totally blow up the idea that this was going to be the holiday of good tiding. In fact, just this year I was on the phone with this friend in which she tells me how upset she is because out of the blue her mom was being super testy. I just laughed and asked if she really thought it would be a Christmas miracle.
Why do people like Skye’s mom just seemingly live to make other people miserable? A big deal of it has to do with their own selves and very little to do with their family. Some people can not see the good in life even when it is staring them in the face. It’s just like that elderly relative that if you say the house is blue, they will say the house is yellow. Nothing will ever be right for them. It’s a sad life really and we should try to be patient with these kinds of folks without allowing them to ruin our holidays.
In family pecking order some families play favorites in which a brother or sister is favored over the rest, a grandkid is swooned over more than the others, or an in-law that is approved of or not. This is a very amusing family dynamic for those onlookers that observe from the outside but not so much for those being passed over.
My in-laws did not love the idea of me. It was clear that I was not their favorite daughter in law. Heck they favored the “bad” sons girlfriend more than they did me. It’s ok, they treated me good for the most part. Let’s just talk about how favoritism can create more and more issues. One Thanksgiving, my father-in-law kept taking pictures of the grandkids and his kids separately and then as family units, talking about needing pictures of his family to show off. Not once was my husband and I asked to take a photo. I was like ok we don’t have kids so I understand. Well, that was until the brother everyone was mad at (with good cause) comes in with his gf and my father-in-law jumps to take their picture. I caught my husband’s eye from across the room, his eyes said it all. I myself was still mentally and physical still getting over a miscarriage and just lost it, leaving the room and for the first time in many years I got sloppy drunk. This is not how you handle holidays and family … you know, unless it’s the only option.
Families can be great but it is just something about the holidays that bring out the very worst in people. Who knows – maybe they got coal in their stocking? The fact still holds that we are only responsible for one person and that is ourselves. Our actions can cause a breakdown or hold a steady hand.
So, over the years this has been some of the tips that get me through the holidays:
- Dress to impress but be comfortable.
- Do not engage those who you know 100% are sitting in wait to be engaged.
- Eat slow and steady throughout the day. Suggest to that talkative cousin, “You should eat”… and then proceed to go have a bit. SLOW and Steady keeps you busy without over stuffing.
- Prayer. You can never go wrong praying that God keeps you together just long enough to get through the day.
- Make sure to take all your meds, and have on standby anything you may need in your bag.
- Get a good night’s rest. Even if you end up having to pretend to sleep (resting with eyes closed). You want to be on top of your game so whatever comes at you, you know what’s up.
- Compliment your host and offer to help in some ways like by offering to take out the trash or pouring drinks.
- Bring a friend. You know you have one, that one friend who never has anywhere to go… BRING THEM….
- Keep a backup plan – hide where the kids are hiding from the adults and call it “supervising”.
- Lastly, if all else fails, drink till it all is too fuzzy to sort out….