We all have them: family members we just don’t get along with. Whether it’s because they’re simply annoying, overly obnoxious or outrageously opinionated – just because we’re related to someone doesn’t mean we get along. Sadly the holidays often make these relationships worse. Between spending more time than usual together (whose idea was it to make Thanksgiving and Christmas so close together, anyway??) and high expectations for picture-perfect holiday celebrations, this time of year can be a perfect storm of family turmoil.
So what can be done to ease the inevitable tensions that arise among even the most well-adjusted of families?
We are who we are. Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean that our annoying family members are going to get any less annoying. In fact, if they do any changing at all it will likely be to become even more irritating (all that booze, heavy food and stress just doesn’t improve things). With that in mind, it can be best to keep expectations relatively low and realize that that we all have our quirks.
Quality vs. Quantity. Sometimes we spend so much time together over the holidays, that we simply overdose on each other. Instead of spending large amounts of time together, consider focusing on quality time together instead – focusing on fun, meaningful and memorable activities or conversations together.
Lose the Booze. As mentioned above, alcohol often brings out the worst in our personalities. It can lead us to say things we shouldn’t, get more irritated with others – and more quickly, and can increase the potential for family conflict when we’re spending more time than usual together. While just thinking about the holidays and the accompanying family time can make some folks reach for the wine glass, keeping alcohol intake to a minimum may actually make the season go more smoothly.