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Smarter Living: Dealing with family during the holidays

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Many of us are wrapping up gifts, packing up suitcase to travel to be with family...a good thing, a thing we all are craving these days after our world has shaken been, again. But even sometimes, family can be tough to deal with.

Mamajamma writes: "I love my family. I do. Even their flaws. But we see each other at the holidays, those flaws are magnified. I try my best to deal with arrogant behavior or kids who are spoiled or those relatives that just sit there and expect the rest of us to wait on them...but it's tough. What's the best way to deal with the not-so-great parts of family gatherings?"

First and foremost, we love our families. Period. That isn't in question, but sometimes scurrying around to get stuff done while others don't lift a finger or tackling a kid who has less-than-stellar manners and demands you to do things, well, it can take the joy out of the most joyous time of year.

The main idea is to adjust your expectations. People don't change overnight. Be prepared mentally. If your mother-in-law tends to hand out nagging comments, tell yourself this year isn't going to change, but maybe have a internal game where you guess how many she doles out. Or that 12-year-old who has never heard the word "No?" Have him help you, give him little tasks to keep him busy.

These ideas won't change the behavior of folks, but at least it can help you control how you react to them. Ahead of time, plan a mantra to keep your own emotions in check when your Uncle John goes on Uninformed Political Tirade #12 of the day.

Are you gathering with family this holiday season? How do you handle tricky situations with your family?

Š saw 

by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (21-30):
by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 8:56 PM

Yes, my family and I will be with my inlaws this holiday season and my family will be down for new years.

by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 9:21 PM

I handle them by smiling, avoiding tough topics of conversation and biting my tongue.  Luckily there is not all the much drama in my family.  Though this year there is an unusually high amount since my brother and SIL are getting divorced. :(

by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 9:38 PM
I'm one if 3 sisters so there can easily be a cat fight. Especially when one sister is bipolar and refuses to get help. I try to remember that we are all different but love each other. My DH always takes a guess to see how long before my sister says that she is leaving.
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by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 9:51 PM

We will be getting together with family on the 23, 24th and 25th.  We are usually exhausted after all the parties, but we have a good time.

by Carissa on Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Same here

Quoting Flaca43:

 I'm lucky, my family is usually great at the holidays.

by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:47 PM

 I don't have any tricky situations with family. We just have a small Xmas dinner.

by Ruby Member on Dec. 20, 2012 at 3:14 PM

 i haven't had christmas with my family since 1992 when i was a senior in high school.  with one sibling that can't stand me, or any of us really, a father who could care less if you existed, not to mention the gaggle of little kids & dogs running around holidays on my own were much more peaceful.

with them being in another state & hubby's family out of the country it's pretty hard to see any of them for the holidays so no need to worry about "tricky situations".

by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 10:27 PM

 We like to have an enjoyable visit, so we really don't get into contentious conversations. I enjoy being with my family, I treasure them, and don't enjoy being around a lot of drama, so I guess I'm lucky. If someone started something, I guess I'd try to change the conversation. Or hand them a cookie. lol

by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 11:08 PM

sadly yes..... and to deal i arrive late (to not meal centered gatherings so its okay) and leave early and tend to stay in corners and avoid eye contact :)

by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 11:20 PM

While we are spending the holidays with family, we're fortunate that it's family we are very close with.

The problem for us with extended family is that our kids are young and tend to act out on holidays (regular routine is broken, they're a bit overwhelmed with Santa and presents, etc). So when we're at big family get togethers, everyone likes to give us unsolicited advice on how to deal with them. It creates a little bit of animosity! To curb this, we really have to - as suggested - lower our expectations and try to shrug off the crazy stuff.

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