Dangers of Christmas - #7

At the beginning of December the Huffington Post featured an article on the 12 dangers of Christmas.  The article focused on fire safety during the holiday season.  They covered everything from your Christmas tree drying out and catching the drapes on fire to burning down your home while preparing your roast beast.
The article got me thinking, what if there were other dangers during Christmas?  What if, aside from falling off your roof while working on your light display and over roasting your chestnuts, there were hidden dangers during the season of advent that most of us overlook.
Over the next 15 days I am going to share my 12 dangers of Christmas.  So here we go,
christmas-vacation-christmas-eve-dinner

#7 - Family Dinners

Nothing is more awkward than sitting around the table with family you see once every other year.  Between passing the mashed potatoes and dry stuffing you attempt to be old friends knowing full well that you will not speak to each other again for at least another year.  So instead of being honest with one another about what's really going on in your life, you each paint the picture of a perfect career, family, and friends.

And then there is the chance that the cousin you are seated next the same cousin you pissed off ten years ago and neither of you have moved past the disagreement.  Yet, when you are seated around grandma's dinner table with the china which is reserved for these sacred gatherings, you and your cousin try to put on a happy face all the while you are taking subtle verbals jabs at one another.

So, if you need some pointers  on how to survive the awkward family Christmas dinner, you're in luck!  The Huffington Post's Dr. Janet Taylor has a list of ten tips to survive family holiday gatherings.

  1. Reflect on past experiences. Examine what worked and what didn't. If sleeping arrangements left you cranky and tired, think of an alternative. Shorten your trip or bunk somewhere else.
  2. Have an attitude of gratitude. Yeah, they may be annoying, but it's your family.
  3. Resolve previous differences. It is not helpful to go home for the holidays to rectify an old disagreement. Make a phone call, send a text, write a letter with the intention of smoothing out any misunderstanding before you go.
  4. Look for the humor. Try not to take everything so seriously. Sometimes you just have to laugh and say, "It is what it is".
  5. Exercise. Take your gear, plan to workout, and organize a family walk or active game. It's a great stress-buster and if nothing else you will feel energized and more optimistic.
  6. Invite a friend. Friends can offer a new perspective on your family and help create a more positive context.
  7. Organize an event that creates a memory. For example, create a cookbook. Ask relatives to donate stories or recipes to share with each other. Take pictures and make a photo album to share.
  8. Be yourself. These are folks who love and support you, no matter what. Relax and reconnect with your roots.
  9. Set your own ground rules. Don't' allow yourself to be baited into behavior that is out of your character.
  10. Keep a positive mindset. When presented with comment that may seem hurtful, ask yourself, "What's another way to look at that?"

How do you survive holiday family gatherings?  What tips would you add to Dr. Taylor's list?

You can read Dr. Taylor's article here.