It’s that time of year again; time to get together with friends and family. And for many of us, time for the panic attacks and stress to set in. There is always that one family member that hits the eggnog a little too hard or who wants to discuss politics. Then there is always the kids running around, the “what do I buy for…” stresses. So here are some helpful tips to survive this holiday season without breaking the bank or going a tad mad.
1. Be Reasonable in What You Expect
How many times have you wondered how things are going to turn out? You have this idea in your head that holiday dinners are going to look like something off a Victorian Christmas card. But, in all reality there going to turn out a lot more “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” So it helps to keep your expectations reasonable. Try to realize that this day isn’t going to be perfect, and you’ll be better prepared to handle the unexpected.
2. Take It One Crisis at a Time
Picture this, you are sitting at the table, your aunt is whining about how the silverware doesn’t match and your uncle is trying to change your political views. There are cousins running around screaming, dad is snoring on the couch, and there is really nothing that you can do about all the madness. The best advice here is to try and zone some of this out. Focus on calming your aunt down. Then move on to the next thing. This will help reduce stress for both you and your relatives.
3. Be a Zen Master
Smile and nod a lot, being polite and acting like you’re in agreement with what is being said will help you in rough situations. Now, there are things that will be said that may be rude and offensive, but try not to take them to heart. Sometimes it is better not to engage and fight back, just let those words wash over you.
4. Avoid Controversy
There are typically four things that should never be discussed when family or friends get together; politics, religion, relationships, current events. These topics have the potential to open a door to a stressful situation, so use them wisely! Talking about the deficit, Obamacare, etc., puts you in a no win conversation. Stick to talking about fun and universal things such as movies, pets, sports or the food. These are topics just about everybody can relate to and have fun talking about
It is the holidays after all, so try to relax. Remember how much you love your friends and family. Getting together with them doesn’t have to be stressful or traumatic. Enjoy the time that you have with them, because you never know what the new year will bring. If you do find yourself getting stressed out, go outside for a moment. Take the time to breathe in the cool, fresh air and gather your thoughts. Then once you’ve calmed down feel free to step back into the fray.
6. Don’t Stress Over Gifts
Probably the most stressful part of the holidays is what to buy for whom. Remember the old saying, “It’s the thought that counts”. And that couldn’t be more true, the simplest things like a handwritten note, card, or phone call can be more meaningful then the most expensive gift.
Enjoy the holidays, make the most of them, spend quality time with your friends and family, and most of all… remember not to stress!