So, Thanksgiving just passed and I almost lost my mind with my family. For some reason, I thought it would be great with us having the SMALLEST home out of all our family, to host Turkey Day at our house- note to you all: Don’t be like me. EVER. My family is either hot or cold, there is never any warm and it can be extremely exhausting.
So, how do you handle family over the holidays? Here are a few tips I gathered over the years to help me keep hair on my head and a sound mind.
Let us be real about the things: Most families have some form of dysfunction, and if you have a perfect family, please tell me your ways so I can do the things you do, to get to your level of perfection.
1. Remember although they are family, everyone is different.
We all have different ways we think and live, even if we grew up together. There are bound to be arguments (there were 7.5 in my home before dinner was even prayed over) and you must remember you can’t please everyone. Someone will complain about something, rather it is Aunt Kelly mad that she did not get asked to make the potato salad (she gets mad at that every year, don’t sweat it) or that the men are arguing over which football game to watch on the tube. Just roll with the punches and carry on.
2. More than likely no one will come on time.
Especially if you are in my family. I simply tell everyone to be there an hour earlier than I actually plan to start, this way when I say come at 4 and they show up at 5, I was really anticipating 5 as the start time anyhow. See what I did there?
3. Remember they are your family. You cannot change that.
So, focus on making it a great holiday. I did my best to set up as many games, comfortable seating and have enough food for people to take to go plates home (I am not a fan of holiday leftovers.) I also made my husband aware that he was in charge of dispelling fires with older family members and I had the younger ones. We had a pretty good system until that one kid knocked over the candied yams and everyone lost their collective minds (my family loves candied yams y’all.)
4. Get you a buddy.
Someone you can contact throughout the day to vent to. You will need an outlet and if your spouse is dispelling an argument between Uncle Joe and Ben over who was the best quarterback of the century. This person’s job is simply to help you relax, find your woosah and be able to go back to your family with a level head. They are you ally. Or if you can have them there. EVEN BETTER.
5. If you know someone has an issue with you or any other family member that will be attending, talk to them BEFORE the day arrives.
Nothing is worse than trying to hash out differences at what’s supposed to be a nice get together, it kills the mood and shifts the energy. And I for one like great energy around great food. Period.
6. Identify what will trigger YOU.
If you know certain family members or actions will set you off, identify them so you can either avoid it or them or not have them around all together. It is your house, they don’t have to be there. Period. Your house, Your space, Your rules.
7. Learn to smile and nod.
Sometimes the best road to take is the one that keeps it pleasant. That’s the case with my brother and me. I love him to bits and pieces, but he always starts something or says something to trigger me and I have learned to just say, “Oh, ok,” and go about my way. It keeps all the sharp kitchen items where they should be. Wink.
8. Schedule yourself some after holiday self-care.
Even if it is as simple as reading a book alone. DO IT. You just spent a day or two cooking mounds of food to host lots of people in you home, to cleaning after they left. You need a break and a time set aside for you to gather yourself. Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close together and it can be hard on us emotionally and physically if we are the hostess. Take care of you.