As the holidays roll around, the visits with family can be somewhat of a challenge. Fear not, I am here to help. Don't worry, I am a professional. If you follow the tips here, you will have a decent shot at having a good time and not killing your family.
Holiday get togethers have three areas ripe for contentious emotions. There is family, food and a place were all of the above are put together (confinement) for at least an hour. At this point, while you are mulling over each of these items, it is important to define what you are expecting from these events. Expectations are like psychic visions, they will tell you what the future holds. So please, tell yourself that you will have a good time. No matter what. And if you really believe this and really work at it--it will be the truth.
First, ask yourself, What are the challenges that I personally face here? Again, look at the three factors in the holiday dinner equation. The most prominent challenge for most of us is the actual family. We did not choose these people, these family, but yet there they are.
Ask yourself what bothers you most about your family. Does your Dad tell racist jokes? Does Aunt Peg pester you about not having kids? Does your brother bug you about your parole? Well, let them. When we interact with others there are two people involved. You and them. You can do nothing about them. Which is more important, you having a good time no matter what, or you helping them understand what idiots they are? You cannot have both.
And if you could sit with them, talk things over like adults, decide on a behavioral plan, then you wouldn't be reading this would you? Thus, when your Achilles' heel is being hammered upon, take a deep breath. You are in control of you and remember, you are going to have a good time no matter what. Let the racist jokes roll, let them go on and on about meat eating, let them, let them, let them. Who knows, once you stop taking the bait, perhaps they will stop casting the line?
Secondly, ask yourself about the food. Food is a big deal for most folks. There are all sorts of emotions tied to what is fed us and what we feed upon. If your family serves the food you like then YAY! Stop reading and go to number three. If no, then please, use this one day to divert your attention from it. At most houses, there will be a smorgasbord of food. Pick and choose what you like. Bring your own 'side dish' without briefing them ahead of time. Just act like you are being "helpful". Keep in mind that food is secondary to these gatherings. And again, you are going to have a good time no matter what.
Thirdly, ask yourself about confinement. Some of us are not really people people and don't like gatherings in the first place. Let alone with a group of people we have nothing in common with and don’t really like. If this applies to you, then plan on breaks. Plan on escaping to the rest room, to the porch, to the car. Plan on regular intervals when you can breathe. This is all part of how you are going to have a good time, no matter what.
Oh and a word about booze. Best not to tempt fate here. Booze loosens the tongue and impairs even the most sound social judgment. If you find that you must drink in order to survive the gathering, well, maybe you should rethink some things. So, in order to ensure that you will have a good time no matter what, pass on the old timey nogg. The exception to this is if you and your family has a decent shot at getting along after a few. If so, have at it responsibly.
The overarching issues in any holiday gathering are many. But, there is always a way to figure out how to best serve your needs. Please use the above tips to have a pleasant holiday gathering. And if you are prepared, and if you return to your central purpose—to have a good time—time and time again, you will.
But, if you can't bring yourself to even consider having a pleasant day, or to refrain from drinking that ole timey nogg, then stay the hell home. It's your life, you can do what ever you want.
Ok-now it is your turn. Share your tips for a good holiday dinner with the family.
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