The holiday season is believed to be the greatest time of the year, when we give each other presents, have fun and meet our nearest and dearest. But for most people, and I’m no exception, holidays result in a big stress and anxiety. Family dinner, traditions, artificial smiles, annoying relatives can make anyone feel uneasy. Holiday gatherings with my kinfolk are always accompanied with endless questions like when I’m going to marry and have children and other unpleasant stuff that just makes me crazy. On the other hand, the avoidance of your kinfolk is also a bad option. Read on to learn 7 useful ways to handle your kinfolk if you want to survive and stay stress-free during this holiday season.
1. Establish your boundaries
Just because they’re your relatives doesn’t mean they can intervene with your private space. Setting boundaries is a useful and wise way to guard yourself against tactless questions, awkward situations and unwanted explanations. You have a full right to tell as much as you consider necessary. You don’t have to spill your guts about your work or relationships. But this rule works both ways. When your kinfolk don’t want to discuss certain things with you, take it easy.
2. Get ready for conflict situations
When so many different people gather together, conflicts are almost unavoidable. However, if you know that certain issues such as politics or religion are likely to cause tension, just avoid them! I never bring up the question of childfree life since I know it would drive my aunt crazy! But when she starts talking about it I always try to make a joke of it and change the topic. Establishing taboo topics is also a good way to avoid conflict situations and stress. Just inform your guests of certain issues that are not acceptable to talk about in your house.
3. Learn to say No
People believe that they are obliged to meet their kinfolk and pretend to be happy about it each holiday season. But I think that we should learn to say No if we don’t want to do it. Sometimes it’s much better to celebrate holidays with your parents or kids only. When I started working I became extremely short of time. As a result I started distributing my time very reasonably and now I simply cannot afford to meet people who make me feel uneasy and waste my time on useless things.
4. Accept the differences
People’s behavior and opinions are their own business and you cannot change it. Most probably you can recognize a know-it-all expert, a complainer or a pessimist among your kindred, but you should accept this diversity. Learn to respect everyone’s personality and find some positive things about your relatives. For example, my cousin is always super-interested in my personal life, even when she’s not asked, but she can always give a worthy advice.
5. Create a comfortable environment
If you host the celebration at home you should consider other’s needs and interests. If you expect many kids to come, provide them with interesting games and toys. Make your guests feel comfortable by preparing a special zone for relax like a cozy corner with cushions and magazines. Think about different food preferences and special dietary needs. All these details will demonstrate your good attitude and attention. When your kinfolk know that they are welcome, chances are you’ll have much more pleasing holidays. Holiday family reunions will also run easier if you create a detailed plan of your pastime.
6. Avoid criticism and try to be polite
Nothing can raise resentment and conflicts faster than attacks and criticism. I think that I have no right to criticize other people, even my kinfolk. Their lives and outlooks are their own business. It’s also absolutely okay when I cut short my relatives whenever they try to criticize me. If you want to cope with your kinfolk during a few days together, use polite attitude and requests. Do not confuse politeness with trying to please everyone. Just be nice and respectful with your in-laws and get through the holiday season with ease and pleasure.
7. Be grateful and enjoy being with your kinfolk
After all, you see them only once a year, why not find a reason to be happy about it? Be grateful that you have family and kinfolk; be grateful for every second you can spend together. Even if your kinfolk are a bit annoying or difficult to get along with, they are still your close people. I bet you sometimes recollect your past family gatherings with delight and nostalgia!
When you grow up holidays are not associated with total fun and delight any more. Most adults associate holidays with hard times they should get through. But remember that you will have to see your kinfolk for a couple of hours or days only and try to see the good in every situation. These smart strategies will help you adopt your behavior to enjoy this holiday season with your big family! If you have your own tips, feel free to share them with us.