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 pockets. 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.