7 Simple Ways To Enjoy The Holidays With Family

Post written by Sherri Kruger. Follow me on Twitter.

This post was originally published last year around this time. I think it’s a great reminder as the majority of us enter the holiday season and perhaps get a bit more in the family department than we anticipated.

You gotta love family. Each person with their own charming personality, unique interests and quirky ways. Sometimes it’s a tall ask to get along with everyone, especially during the holidays, when it can feel like family over load.

You may be seeing relatives you haven’t seen in years and are dreading the interrogation questions that will surely be accompanying them. You may equally be dreading spending the day with relatives you see often. Just how many times can hear the same joke and force out a laugh?

Try not to get too worked up over it. There are some things you can do to not only “get through” the day, evening or weekend but to actually enjoy it as well.

1. Be positive. I mean it. If you go into any family gathering with a defeatist attitude you stand very little chance of actually enjoying yourself. Psych yourself up for it to be a positive experience. Play through the day and potential situations you may encounter. By setting realistic expectations you are less likely to be disappointed and may even be pleasantly surprised.

2. Have fun with it. Create little tasks, games, or challenges for yourself. As an example, spend time with each person getting to know more about them. Keep a mental score card filling it up with their current interests and hobbies. Reconnect with your family or friends and find out what makes them tick. It’s no fun sitting in a corner thinking “this sucks”. Get up and get interested.

3. Help out. The host or hostess would surely appreciate a little help in the kitchen, setting the table, washing the dishes, or even help with keeping the kids occupied. Get in there and help where you can. Make yourself useful.


4. Give yourself a time out. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed or stressed by all the commotion, give yourself a time out. Excuse yourself, don’t just disappear, and take 5 minutes to walk around the yard, sit in a quiet room or volunteer to run out and get more ice. Don’t sweat it. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed just choose how you react very carefully.

5. Play Santa. No I don’t mean getting dressed up in the big red suit, although that could be fun too! I’m thinking more of hiding little gifts (small chocolates or candy canes) around the house for others to find. You could also do a bit of planning and write little notes to sprinkle throughout the house or put in people’s jacket ┬ápockets. How nice would it be to find a note in your pocket telling you that you matter to someone? Or that someone really likes the way you help people without ever being asked. Nice right?

6. Initiate a new tradition. Strike up a conversation with the group and brainstorm ideas for new family tradition. Here are a few ideas to hopefully give you a place to start.

  • Christmas stockings
  • Christmas craft
  • dainty exchange
  • Christmas crackers
  • snowball fight
  • walk outside (awesome for little ones to burn off some energy!)
  • Christmas movie marathon

7. Sit quietly and observe. Every now and then throughout the day just sit quietly and observe what’s going on around you. Watch your kids and really see what they’re doing. Watch other family members interact with each other and choose to see the good in each of them. Sitting quietly and observing is a great time to take stock of what you’re grateful for.


Make the choice to make the best of it. If there’s no fun to be had create it! Be in the moment and take time to regroup if need be. If you are not able to spend time with loved ones this holiday season pick up the phone or fire up the web-cam and let them know you’re thinking of them.

I wish you all a very happy holiday and new year celebration.

23 Responses to “7 Simple Ways To Enjoy The Holidays With Family”

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  1. Great ideas to keep the peace and enjoy yourself!

  2. Eric - BHF says:

    I love the idea of a time out, although i’m not sure 5 minutes would do it, i need a few hours!! I am an introvert and being around so many people for so long is exhausting!

  3. Wendy Irene says:

    Wonderful post Sherri and great ideas!

  4. Eric – Somedays 5 minutes certainly doesn’t cut it for me either :) My husband is an introvert and he’s told me the same thing. He just gets exhausted if he’s around too many people for too long. Knowing that is huge and taking some time out during the day/week is definitely a good thing.

  5. Today I posted My Simple Christmas Pledge – each year I simplify further – the tips you give I will certainly take a look at incorporating as I hadn’t really given much thought to the issues you quite rightly raise – Jo (simplybeingmum – ‘family life simply done’)

  6. That’s great Jo and what a great idea having a simple Christmas pledge! I sincerely hope it works out for you.

  7. Luckily for us, the stressful part of the family, we only see once or twice a year, and I just focus on my grandkids during that time. I spend my time talking and playing with them and it keeps me out of any major conflict or discussions that I don’t want to be pulled into!
    As another introvert, try to find some other ways to get a few more minutes, maybe take a walk?
    Bernice
    http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2010/the-walking-wounded/

  8. Great suggestions. Be positive is the best. I usually like to visualize how I want the experience to go before I arrive. It helps me set a positive tone for the day.

  9. jer says:

    Great suggestions, but what is a “dainty exchange”?

  10. Belinda says:

    These are excellent tips to keep in mind! However, they are geared toward a day long or evening get together. Over Thanksgiving, we were with relatives for foor days. I made a decision that in the future it is okay for my own well being to announce that I’m going out for a couple of hours. Does it really matter if I invite the group to go? At one time in my life, I would have been thought it would be impolite…but no longer!

  11. Joseph Nally says:

    For me, getting consumed with giving is a great way to enjoy the time. And I don’t mean giving lots of money or gifts.
    Giving to those in need, or to family members that I have a hard time with. Giving of my time, space, ear, prayers, anything that’ll help.
    That’s always made the best of it for me.

  12. Good, sensible post! This year the holidays pounded me over the head for a variety of reasons that I mentioned in a post on my blog here:

    http://jtophoto.blogspot.com/2010/12/i-feel-like-charlie-brown.html

    Things like this usually don’t get me down, but it did get to me this year so I will change things in the future. I will also keep the tips in this post in mind. :-)

    Happy holidays everyone!

    John

  13. Luckily for us, the stressful part of the family, we only see once or twice a year, and I just focus on my grandkids during that time. I spend my time talking and playing with them and it keeps me out of any major conflict or discussions that I don’t want to be pulled into! As another introvert, try to find some other ways to get a few more minutes, maybe take a walk? Bernice http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2010/the-walking-wounded/

  14. Marnie says:

    I must be blessed because there’s really no one in my family that I don’t actually like as a person. I enjoy getting together with everyone at Christmas and listening to their stories.

    However, like anyone, enough is enough. Too much of a good thing can be toxic and that’s when I need to get away and do my own thing again.

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] Family Habits: – 7 Simple Ways To Enjoy The Holidays With Family! Great tips to keep in mind during the season… I love the idea of starting a new [...]

  2. [...] 7 Simple Ways to Enjoy the Holidays with Family by Sherri at Zen Family Habits [...]

  3. [...] excellent posts about this during Christmas time, and reading them is an excellent place to start 1 2 3 4 (after you finish reading this, of [...]

  4. [...] 7 Simple Ways To Enjoy The Holidays – Sometimes the simplest things are the most enjoyable. One really great way to relieve stress is to give to others. It’s a lot easier to let go of your frustrations when you are busy making someone else’s day better. I also like the idea of leaving little “love notes” in people pockets or around the house to tell your family how much you care about them. Try a few of these and have a little joy without spending any money. [...]

  5. [...] 7 Simple Ways to Enjoy the Holidays with Family by Sherri at Zen Family Habits [...]

  6. [...] 7 Simple Ways To Enjoy The Holidays With Family | Zen Family Habits [...]



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