Picture it… A large table in a beautifully decorated dinning room. Meticulously placed center pieces and place settings cover the beautiful table. A large beautifully roasted turkey is positioned at the head of the table, waiting to be cut, while bowls and platters of delicious side dishes are spread all over. To top it off, a large happy family sits, gathered around this feast, chatting and smiling and enjoying the holidays.
Oh the holidays! How we love them… I mean, this is how everyone pictures their family’s holiday feasts right? The beautiful images put into our heads by marketing companies and movie executives. This is what the holidays are supposed to be like!
Maybe not so much…
If your family is anything like mine, you may have noticed that your holiday dinners are vastly different than these beautiful scenes. Everyone standing around, lots of noise, drunk uncles, and family drama abound. The food is good most of the time but let’s face it… these holiday get togethers can be a bit of a pain to deal with.
So here’s my guide to surviving the holidays so that you come out maintaining just a little bit of your sanity.
Let’s face it, the holidays aren’t easy for anyone. There’s a lot that you have to do to get ready to host guests and a lot you have to do if you plan on being one of those guests…especially if you’re bringing kids along. Make sure that you have everything prepared.
Make sure that you have a list written out and placed somewhere you’ll actually see it that details everything you need to have ready for your trip to grandmas house. Have any dishes you made, wrapped and ready to go, so you don’t have to think about that. And pack or set out anything that you may need to bring along with you.
I recommend having a holiday bag for your kids. Include coloring books, crayons, and puzzles. If your kids are to the age where they have a Nintendo switch or any other hand held gaming device, bring that along with some games and the chargers… DON’T FORGET THE CHARGER! In other words… make yourself a shut up bag that you can throw at them any time they start to get the least bit board. And don’t forget to pack each kid an extra set of clothes, diapers and wipes or extra underwear… I’ve done this… it does not end well.
Don’t forget yourself and your spouse as well. Throw in an extra shirt for yourself since, well, messes happen.
Have those holiday bag packed and ready to go the night before. Don’t wait until the morning you’re supposed to be leaving to get all of that ready.
2. Understand your surrounding
This may sound funny, but it’s always good to know where you’re going and what you’re about to walk into. It helps you to be better prepared ( see number one) and know exactly what you’re going to need. It will also help you to be prepared for the people in the family that you may not be so fond of. If you don’t like certain people, and you know ahead of time that they are going to be there, you can get yourself mentally prepared and have a way, if possible, to try and avoid those people as much as possible.
3. Have an out
Let’s face it, leaving a family gathering isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Even if you may have other plans with, god forbid, another part of the family. Sometimes the place you start out can feel like they take priority over everything else. So have a way out. Plan (Again see number 1…planning is EVERYTHING!) your exit strategy ahead of time and make sure that everyone in your group understands and is on board. This can be especially important, and probably make leaving a little easier, if you have young children. You don’t want to tell grandma that you’re not feeling well and need to leave and then have hubby say that little Jimmy is running a fever too. Get your story straight!
4. Expect the unexpected
You’re spending the holidays with family, no more “life” happens than when you’re with your family. Expect for great Aunt Sallie to have a melt down over her divorce to Uncle Rick. Expect Uncle David to get drunk and pass out in his potato salad, especially if this may have happened 3 years in row. Know that one of your kids is most likely going to throw a tantrum at some point (this is where that shut up bag comes in handy) and that there will most likely be pee someplace other than in a bathroom. This, AGAIN, goes back to planning. Planning is important for making any holiday family get together run smoothly because when you plan, those unexpected things don’t feel so overwhelming.
5. Relax and know it doesn’t last forever
The Holidays may be stressful and at times feel overwhelming, but know that these little family get togethers don’t last forever and try to relax. So allow yourself to have a little fun. If you need a glass of wine to unwind and relax, then drink it and enjoy yourself. It’s not too often that many of us get the chance to have our whole family together at once, and even though many families are crazy (mine is probably up there on the crazy scale) it really is nice to see everyone.
I hope y’all have a fantastic holiday season, filled with lots of love and crazy family time!
What do you do to keep your sanity through the holiday family get togethers? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to hit that subscribe button for more family tips and tricks from this large crazy family.