So, you’ve survived Thanksgiving (or maybe not) and resigned yourself to the experience that will be Christmas.  

Family can be a great thing but also extremely exhausting and holidays bring out the worst in some of them. You may have differing opinions on politics, whether the turkey is dry or if mashed potatoes should have been funeral potatoes.  

The absolute worst is when you’re single and every other relative seems to be invested in your dating life.  

All that aside, there are a few ways to survive the next big family gathering, which will most likely be Christmas. Oprah comes through once again with some advice on how you can make it through. 

The first step is to give up all hope. That’s right, hope during a family gathering is not going to help you at all. Save it for the list you’ll send to Santa. Instead, know that despite your most fervent wishes, your family will be the same as they have always been. If you can acknowledge that, your holiday will be much easier for your mental health. 

Next, you’ll want to come up with some boundaries. Before you even consider going to Christmas dinner, you’ll want something concrete to help you get through. This could be a time limit, getting a rented car so you don’t have to rely on family, or even having a friend call halfway through to give you an easy out. Whatever you come up with, make sure you have a backup in case a nosey aunt tries to stall your graceful exit.  

After that comes a really difficult step, letting go. Lose control but not of your composure or anything like that. Instead, lose control of other people. The family member who comments on your weight or tries to poke at your political views gets a sense of control from riling you up. The best way to avoid an all-out screaming match is to understand that giving in to their bait is how you lose.  

Simply accept your own need to grow and that changing someone's mind is pointless.  

You can also choose to be an observer at the family gathering. Instead of joining in on spicy conversations or things that bore you to death, become a people watcher. You can even make a game out of it with your friends where you compare crazy family after the holiday. 

Lastly, do a debrief with a close friend or family member once the crazy gathering is over. This helps you reconnect to the “real world’ and curbs any bad thoughts by being validated and heard. If need be, get a therapist and have a holiday calm down session. 

Now, take these steps to heart and look forward to the upcoming holiday with joy, at least for the delicious food if not for the company.  


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Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams

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