Surviving family during the holidays

Surviving family during the holidays

Whether you are hosting the holidays at your home or you are a beloved guest, the holidays at times can bring about tough conversations, uneasy moments, and the reminder of expectations not met. Surviving family discussions is a big part of the holidays.

You know your mom is going to ask if you brought a date, your grandma wants to know when you are going to give her grandkids, and your cousin who is much younger and has the perfect man and job will ask you about your love life.

While there is so much more to a person than just who a person is with and what job they are doing, you know these questions will come up.

Consider having a couple answers ready:

  • “No, I’m not currently dating anyone. I just haven’t found a man that measures up to Dad/Grandpa/Uncle Paul yet.”
  • “No, I do not have any children yet. I am waiting to have children when I have someone that can help me with children.”
  • I am thankful for the work that I have and I hope to have that desired job soon.

The holidays bring about a sense of togetherness as family gather from all over. Genuine curiosity sets in and the reminder that the year is coming to an end all seem to motivate people to ask questions. At times these questions may seem hurtful or a bit too personal. While the majority of family have your best interest in mind, there are always going to be some that don’t quite know how to follow mom’s adage of: ‘if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all.’

Our parents generation had a rule of thumb: don’t discuss politics, sex, and religion. Do you ever notice though that often those are the topics that are brought up and that divide most? There are those moments when you hear your family talking about political discussions that seem so ridiculous to you that you don’t know how they possibly can sit there and be okay with it. In those situations you have to decide which battles are worth fighting. It’s okay to let some things go and pretend you did not hear it. Often, it would do more damage to try to fight back.

We would do well to avoid those three biggies with family that don’t hold our beliefs. We understand the tension to connect and share is very attractive.

If you find yourself sharing more than you should or want to, here are some helpful tips to help you survive family discussions:

  • Focus on the good attributes of loved ones, not what annoy you.
  • Don’t try to fix anyone. No one is perfect and although tempted, withhold from the urge to try to share wisdom that may not be welcomed.
  • Dress to feel confident. This way, when you find yourself explaining (again) why you haven’t yet finished college/got the higher paying job and found someone/moved out of your parents house, you can at least tell yourself, “at least I look good!”
  • Remember: it’s okay to not agree on everything and to even be very different. Give yourself some grace and commit to letting some comments go – not all are worth a comment.


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