It’s that time of year again – decorations, chocolate, mulled wine, presents…oh, and the joys of the not-so-festive family members. Sure, some of you may be thinking, ‘What a bitch!” But’s let’s get real about this – if you are honest, there will inevitably be at least one person in the vicinity of your extended family that just…y’know. If you are sat there thinking there’s really no one in your family circle you’d prefer Focker style ‘out’ then you don’t know how lucky you are! Damn!
For the rest of us, here’s a little advice to help you deal with the inevitable situation:
Over the years I’ve tried pretty much every angle of dealing with the yearly HELL – alcohol, avoidance, humour, ridicule, sweat and tears. So, without much ado here are my tips for dealing with the usual suspects:
Now, let’s get one thing straight – family is family, and you can’t choose them. Do try to overcome issues, for if you do, you will be a solid rock to one another through the good times and bad. However, sometimes reality just sucks. Your brothers or sisters may not be very nice people and there’s not a hell of a lot you can do to change that. If making an effort results in relentless backstabbing, if you don’t feel they consider or treat you any better than if you were a piece of crap, my advice is to walk away.
Relentlessly making an effort year upon year, of which always ends in stress does not make you altruistic – it makes you sadistic! Arrange times to see the nice family members. After all, isn’t life about keeping misery at a minimum? Christmas day is but one day of the year, so make arrangements to avoid all unnecessary pain and don’t feel guilty.
2.The Parents-in-law and Step-Parents
Hmm, tricky one. Not much you can do in this situation except make sure you have alcohol, but not too much, and ensure you have somewhere to go for a breather (nipping out to see another family member/friend). Organise a time slot and explain you would love the entire Christmas holiday with them but your duty calls to do the rounds amongst other family members. If they are particularly mean, have a quiet word with your S.O and let him/her deal with the problem. Should they be unbearable this year, make a note and book a holiday abroad in time for next Christmas!
Should the area of concern be a particularly cruel step-parent, you may find they have already thought ahead and omitted you from their Christmas plans. Problem sorted.
Have you heard the phrase “You made your bed, so lie in it.”? I know, it’s a little harsh. However, if things are bad, take some time to see if you are causing some of the issues and what you can change about yourself to make the Christmas period smoother. Then, do the same for him and have a pre-Christmas chat. A calm conversation devoid of accusations, but brimming with ‘I feel’ and solutions. Then stick to them, don’t over-drink, try to put things aside and simply enjoy Christmas for what it is. Most importantly do not over think and do not stress out. Should you feel you are biting craters in your lip, get some space for an hour and chill.
Come January, if things are still this bleak it’s time to revaluate your status IRL!