If you’re reading this, congratulations, you survived Thanksgiving! You’ve already made it this far through the year, especially through all those uncomfortable questions (“How come you’re still single?” or “You didn’t vote for Trump?!”), so there’s almost no need to panic when Christmas dinner rolls around. That said, we know the holiday season is a bit longer than a long weekend, so if you’re still concerned, read on to find out some of our best tips to stay cool, calm, and collected and have a peaceful, not-so-silent night with your loved ones.
Have an Open Mind and No Expectations
A common mistake is expecting the worst when it comes to family get-togethers. It’s so easy to get stuck in a reunion rut, dreading conversations with your immature cousins or nosy aunts. Perhaps you peg that your grandma is a little bit too candid after a few cups of eggnog, or that your dad tells the same dad-jokes he used over Thanksgiving. But the key is to have an open mind and not to set your expectations too high. Don’t expect that just because everyone is together, it will be all sunshine and rainbows. Instead, carry a warm heart and an open mind and remind yourself to not take things too personally.
A silent night is not a great way to cultivate harmony between you and your family members. We know it’s hard not to roll your eyes when your aunt is bragging about your cousin’s elementary school achievements, but try not to tune out conversations and engage instead. It’s easy to begin phubbing (a.k.a. phone snubbing), so be proactive and reminisce on good memories from the past to start a conversation. Try to stay positive, because what you think will determine how you react.
Find Common Ground
If you’ve been feuding with a relative for the past few months (or years, we’re not judging), take this holiday season to rethink your squabbles and find common ground. We’re not saying you have to completely forgive them or become BFFs with them, but in the spirit of the season, try to come together in the middle, and at the very least, be civil. Even if members of your family have lived with chronic conflict, know that it is possible to change these uncomfortable patterns if you are willing to be understanding, open, and meet somewhere in between.
If you need to step away for a minute, we don’t blame you at all. Chances are, you’re going home to the place you grew up, so you’ll probably be able to retreat into the comfort and solace of your childhood room. Take a nap, or just hang out alone for an hour or so, and you’ll be surprised at how rejuvenated you’ll feel. If a few of your friends are back in town, spend some time hanging out with them to distract yourself from family time. Bottom line is, if there’s something that you really just don’t feel like attending, then don’t. Just make sure to give party members ample time to make alternative plans.
Don’t Forget The Reason For The Season
‘Tis the season for love, family, and perhaps most importantly, forgiveness. The holidays are one of the rare times that you finally get to be reunited with all your loved ones and relatives. Opportunities where everyone gets to see each other are few and far between, so it’s crucial to take advantage of the time you have together before everyone shrinks back into their own bubble. These are the memories you will be looking back on for years to come, so don’t taint them with uncomfortable silences or shouting matches. Instead, fill them with happy conversations and positive connections, even with relatives you aren’t particularly close with. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.