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Family Holiday Get Togethers - Do You Dread Them?

Updated on May 1, 2017
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As a psychology major at the University of North Texas, C. E. Clark found, and continues to find psychology endlessly fascinating.

Suggestions for Making Family Get Togethers More Enjoyable

There are many different holidays throughout the year. Sometimes families like to get together around a particular holiday to celebrate that holiday, and especially to enjoy being together for a few hours before everyone must go on about their different lives again.

Perhaps you are looking forward to the holidays, or perhaps you are one of those people who dread them, because one or more family members always seem to ruin it for you and everyone else too.

More families than you may think have a family member or members who always take what should be a joyful occasion and turn it into a time to set people straight on the right way to do things, or to voice their opinion on something about other family members that they disapprove of.

If you dread holiday family-get-togethers and gatherings because of family members who behave badly on these occasions, here are some practical suggestions that might change the dynamics at your future family celebration to make it a happier experience.

Do you dread family holiday get togethers?

Change the Location of Your Celebration

1. Sometimes just changing the location of the gathering may be enough to change the behavior of the perverse relative. If you usually meet at Grandma’s house, change it to someone else’s house -- yours, your aunt and uncle’s, your brother’s, or anyone else in the family who may have the required space available, and see if that also changes the dynamics for the person who comes laden with criticism for everyone. They may not feel comfortable being their usual self in less familiar surroundings, and put on their best behavior.

2. If possible, have your family gathering at a restaurant. Being in a public place may be just the thing to put your contrary family member in a better frame of mind and less likely to give the gift of criticism, or to spoil the holiday spirit for everyone else. Your family party pooper may be more concerned with appearances than with making sure various family members are informed of perceived shortcomings.

Include A Non-family Member In Your Gathering

3. Consider inviting a close friend to the party. If you need an explanation for your friend’s attendance just say s/he worked hard as a favor to you helping you get things ready and organized and you wanted him/her to enjoy some of the fruits of their labor. Or arrange for that friend to ‘drop in’ and invite them to stay for the party! Your crotchety relative may be on their good behavior while a non-family member is around.

Skip the Alcohol

4. Limit the amount of alcohol that will be available, or do not serve alcohol at all. While alcohol can help relax some people and put them in a more jovial mood, it can also bring out the worst in some people. Serve punch and don’t spike it.

Do you hate family get togethers?

I came across a website the other day that looked interesting. It’s called “I Hate Family Get Togethers.” It’s a social networking website where people who hate family get togethers can meet anonymously and exchange stories and ideas. If you hate family get togethers, this site may be just what you’re looking for. Just click on "I Hate Family Get Togethers."

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