Norman Rockwell, step aside. While Hollywood would like us to think that we have the only dysfunctional family with the crazy aunt or spoiled rotten ten year old niece, rest assured, the overwhelming majority of families across the country have plenty of skeletons and challenging members. So how do we deal with this extended craziness in all of our families in large quantities over the holidays? Remember these tips and you’re sure to emerge as the favorite relative!
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First, the holidays only last 5-10 days. With the right attitude and a little advanced planning, anyone can endure extended family for this period of time. We’re often over crowded in tight spaces with lots of together time. This can make it all the more challenging. The number one tip is to be a great listener and use a very large filter before saying what you’re actually thinking. It often doesn’t take much to set some family member’s off.
Second, be a great guest and come bearing a hostess gift from Harry and David. If your immediate family is hosting – get a treat for the crowd from Sam’s Club. This will set a positive tone that can endure throughout the celebration. Ask to help with food preparation and cleanup. Take out the trash and bring in extra firewood without being asked. You’ll win in two ways with these simple steps. You’ll gain a five minute reprieve and your host will be grateful. Your actions might even serve to motivate the couch potatoes in the family!
Last, enjoy yourself. You’re making holiday memories for a lifetime. How you handle yourself and engage with the more difficult members of the family will serve as an example for the members of the younger generation that are present. Maybe one day they’ll pay it forward! Have a great holiday and get ready for the New Year of 2016!