We all have that one family member that brings up the unspeakable: religion or politics. We all have that one family member that asks us why we're STILL single right as the turkey is being carved. We all have those two family members who REFUSE to be in the same room, but you have to invite them both to your annual holiday celebration. Whatever it may be, we all have some family member(s) that make holiday celebrations anything but ordinary, we all have a dysfunctional family. So here it is, my fool-proof guide to surviving your dysfunctional family this holiday season.
1. Shut Up: Sorry, I had to say it. If you feel like a major argument is brewing, stay out of it and shut up. Although you may feel inclined to tell off your great-aunt when she brings up something controversial, I promise you it's probably better if you don't. You can hold your own opinions and I encourage you to do so, but don't ruin the whole family gathering because you just NEEDED to say something. Just keep it to yourself.
2. Be Polite: If you do disagree with something, do so politely. For me, Thanksgiving is always hard. I am a vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free so that limits my food options to basically the sweet potatoes and green beans. I found that if I make a huge deal of not being able to eat this and that, it presents major problems. Instead if I disagree with something or can't eat something, I just politely decline it and nobody really asks questions.
3. Practice Acceptance: Take a few minutes before you go into your grandparents house or before all your relatives come over to accept your relatives for who they are. You probably don't agree with everything all of your relatives do or some of their beliefs. That's okay. Learn to accept your family for their beliefs and who they are and things will be way easier.
4. Remember the Important Things: Remember the important things. You are celebrating the holiday season with your loved ones. Drop the clashing political debates or controversial topics or that one time your cousin told on you ten years ago. Drop the petty things and celebrate the fact that you have your loving family surrounding you.
5. Remember to LOVE: When you're just about to fly off the handle because your mom asked you if you've tried working out more lately, take a deep breath and remember to love. Someone is bound to say something either rude, controversial, annoying or unfair--just take a deep breath and remember the reason why you're gathered together. Forget the tiny details surrounding those relatives you can't stand and just remember to love everyone this holiday season. I promise these tiny reminders will not only help your attitude, but will spread a better attitude for your whole family.