Day 9 - Family Holiday Survival Guide:
"I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery" - Ellen from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Well I hope your Christmas experience with family and friends isn’t quite as frustrating at the Griswold’s but if this is the case, here are some tips for survival.
Tip # 1 - Controlling the children
If you have a big family then there may be quite a few kids running around during Christmas parties and dinners. Some may be mature enough to realize that jumping on Uncle is not comfortable and flipping up Auntie’s mini skirt is not fun but unfortunately, most are not!
Well, be prepared. Come bearing gifts of sweets, games, and anything else to keep the crazy ones occupied. Bring a box of candy canes, chocolates, or cookies. If their parents prefer not to give them sugar then bring games. Think of games/activities they could do in the yard such as soccer, t-ball, chalk, a scavenger hunt, and more. These don’t have to be elaborate gifts but something simple to burn some energy.
Tip #2 - Gift Giving
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Sometimes you don’t always need to bring a gift for each family member but you should always bring a gift for whoever is hosting the family. If Grandma has been slaving away to entertain the entire family then offer to bring a drink, dessert, flowers, or something as simple as napkins. The host will appreciate any offer of help as well! Setting the table or pouring drinks are just little acts of kindness that can help keep the stress level down for the host, which in turn keeps the stress level down for everyone else.
Tip #3 - Dealing with Talkative Family Members
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You truly do enjoy talking to family members and catching up and you truly are interested in what they are saying! Keep telling yourself that after a one-sided conversation that has gone on for an hour see how you feel. Some of our family members be a little too excited to catch up on family gossip, news, and everything else but sometimes it can be a lot to handle in one sitting. To handle this situation bring along some photo albums or a laptop with your photo library. Show them the pictures and start talking about your life since you last saw them then say you will let them look at the book/laptop while you go over and set the table or say hi to someone else. This is a great win-win situation because you are not trapped in a long conversation and you still get to share you life with them and make them happy!
Tip #4 - Dinner is Late!
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Complications in the kitchen can be commonplace, especially when a massive dinner is being made with numerous dishes. No worries! Provide support to the host by occupying the rest of the family with games. Think charades, bananagrams, Wii sports, or anything else.
For charades, grab a few oranges and split up the family into teams. Grab a bag of bananagrams to keep everyone occupied. If there is a Wii player then pop in Wii sports and take turns having a bowling competition or tennis match.
Tip #5 - Dinner Table Arguments
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So maybe bringing up discussions on gay marriage or Occupy Wall Street may not be something the uber conservative Aunt Betty wants to talk about, maybe shout about but not calmly talk about. So extremely important tip for anything family gathering, do not talk about religion, politics, or anything super controversial. If you accidentally fall into a discussion then slowly back out of it by changing the subject. The holidays are a time to enjoy each other’s company, not fight.