The holidays are a time for family gatherings and warm reunions, but not everyone enjoys their time together as much as they would like. Many families practice unhealthy behaviors towards each other, and some people may leave the homes of relatives feeling more morose than jolly. Anyone that dreads the arrival of the holiday season due to family discord needs to learn how to manage their time with their family in a healthier manner so they can enjoy the holidays even as they meet their obligation to their relatives.

The solution is not for people to force themselves to have fun or to pretend they have enjoyed themselves. Neither of these methods will make the season brighter or make life more enjoyable. The answer is to find a way to put issues aside and to tweak the gatherings to benefit everyone.

Make New Traditions

If someone dreads always being the host for the event, or the whole family becomes bitter because they dislike a certain routine – change it. Alternate hosts or choose a public venue and have everyone contribute to the rental fee. Stop any activities that upset or bore people and make certain all participants have some role in the day to prevent overwhelming others with all the responsibility. Traditions should spark joy, so dump those that do not make people happy and start something new.

Keep Yourself Busy

Stay too busy to socialize if the problem is the size of the crowd or just overall unhappiness with many of the guests. Busy people can still seem festive and they earn the praise and appreciation of many other family members. Do the dishes, run to the shops for any forgotten items, and offer to give rides home to elderly family members or those who consumed a little too much holiday joy.

Keep Everyone Busy

Do not allow time for people to begin a debate or to restart old family battles. Plan a list of activities that will keep people busy. Consider hiring entertainment to draw the attention of the guests. Mix up the event between inside and outside so the view continues to change, and everyone gets a dose of blood pressure-calming exercise and fresh air.

Have Some Rules

Request at the time of the invitation that all conversations stay friendly and happy. Forbid the introduction of topics, like religion and politics, that could lead to arguments. A holiday party is also not the time for rehashing old family conflicts. Try to keep apart family members that refuse to let go of their animosity towards each other.

Keep it Short

A party does not need to last all day or all weekend. Make it clear that the family cannot host overnight guests. Arrange alternative accommodations for family members that live far away. Schedule the party to last only three or four hours and plan a getaway trip or other obligation to get out without debate.

The holidays should mean fun and festivities. All families have their quirks and disagreements, but sometimes the problems can become too dramatic for anyone to enjoy their time together. It is possible to spend time with relatives and still have a great time.

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