With Thanksgiving only a day away, and Christmas around the corner it’s the time you visit with family and friends sharing meals, gifts and memories. This is often a stressful time for many parents as they try to get their children ‘on their best behavior’ and deal with relatives that they may have issues with that span many years.
First it is important to know that ‘children will be children.’ They will want dessert before the meal, and get bored when they’re not eating! If you are visiting, bring a change of play clothes for your children and if the weather is nice, send them out doors! Also, bring some activities for them to do, such as coloring books, puzzles, etc., in order that they can have something to do! Realize if they do get cranberry sauce on their new vest, it is NOT the end of the world. Try not to take any frustrations you may have in dealing with family matters out on the children.
If you are preparing meals, take shortcuts whenever possible. Now days, many side dishes are available at Brookshire’s, and Wal-mart and you can purchase a couple and pop in the microwave at the last minute. The same goes for pies. You don’t HAVE to make pies if you don’t have the time. You CAN purchase these fresh baked. You can also purchase a pre-cooked turkey or ham and need only to warm it before serving. Holidays are about being together with family and friends and you really don’t need to add an unnecessary stress!
Realize that your long-standing disagreement with an aunt, for instance, does not have to enter into the conversation. Try not to allow others to goad you into an argument. Agree to disagree and move on! If you get frustrated, take a walk, or a short drive to ‘cool down’ remove yourself from the gathering if need be. Soon your day will be over and you will be tucking your children into bed. Chalk one up for you!
Don’t try to be everywhere at once! You may have to make choices about whose family you will eat Thanksgiving dinner with and whose family you will spend Christmas day with. Someone probably will feel hurt about your decision, but you cannot please everyone, so don’t try. Simply tell the family member….”next year we’ll spend….with you.” Some families decide to simply say “we’ll be spending the holidays at home this year. You are happy to join us.” If this is the case for you, suggest an RSVP and a side dish! Take a deep breath, it’s not as bad as you think and it will be over soon!
Another suggestion, find a shelter or other community agency that is serving meals and volunteer your family to help! You can tell your parents etc. that your family will be serving the needy at………and that they are welcome to come help! When we help those in need, we realize that we have much more to be thankful for and a lot less to bicker about! Happy Holidays!