How to Survive the Family Christmas Party
You survive the whirlwind of ghouls, witches, and Spidermen that rush your doorstep demanding treats on Halloween. You sit patiently through the family Thanksgiving dinner, slightly bloated with too many mashed potatoes as Aunt Edna tells the same stories you’ve heard every year since you were a child. By the time Christmas rolls around, you can feel like your cheerfulness for family get-togethers has been squashed as flat as the Halloween pumpkins that are splattered on neighborhood streets. Here are some tips to help you get through the last holiday of the year with your sanity intact.
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Know what you want from Christmas
You will not get the experience you want out of your Christmas celebrations if you do not know what you want. As Christmas approaches, take a few moments to imagine what the most enjoyable family Christmas would look like. Do you want a big, rowdy gathering with board games? Or is a quiet, intimate Christmas dinner with your spouse over some red wine your idea of an ideal time? Once you have decided, take steps to make those wishes reality. Be flexible with other family members to participate in gatherings as much as possible while still carving out some time for the celebrations you want.
Don’t let Uncle Bob talk you into doing something you don’t want to do.
Although all family members should contribute to the family Christmas party (you won’t earn any brownie points by locking yourself in your room and refusing to be of any useful assistance), do not let your family talk you into doing anything that you are truly uncomfortable with. If racing remote controlled cars down the driveway is not your thing, curl up by the fire with a good book instead. If you are not into card playing, ask another family member to play a different game. Don’t do things because you feel that you “should.” Those “shoulds” will give you frustration later.
Don’t stress out over the gifts.
Buying gifts for all your family members over Christmas can be a real financial and emotional drain on you and your bank account. If you’re pinched for cash, try giving your family IOUs for yard raking, or homemade pie, or babysitting. This will not only be a heartfelt gift (how much emotion is really going into Dad’s annual tie?) but will also show your family member that you care by necessitating future time spent together.