Surviving the Holidays: 3 Helpful Tips for Your Thanksgiving
Relationships are important, and none more so than family relationships. The bonds we share with family are special, but it can sometimes prove to be a task to keep those bonds strong.
Thanksgiving time is a perfect opportunity to gather with the ones we love, eat our fill of turkey and pie, and build on those bonds, but simply gathering together can also come with its challenges, perils, and pitfalls.
While not always the case, avoiding conflict is often directly correlated with keeping our family relationships strong. Here are three sure-fire tips to avoid havoc this holiday season:
1. Manage Your Expectations
“Thanksgiving family gatherings are about as predictable as Schrodinger’s Cat.”
We’ve all seen those commercials. The perfect family sitting around a large table laden with every Thanksgiving food imaginable, plated and presented so perfectly that Martha Stuart would blush. The children sit calmly in their chairs wearing their sweaters and floral print dresses while the parents exchange warm glances as Dad carves a turkey so perky it makes your eyes pop.
The first thing you need to understand is that this is never going to happen. Thanksgiving family gatherings are about as predictable as Schrodinger’s Cat. Take C3PO’s advice: The chances that your gathering will go off without a hitch are approximately 3,720 to 1.
The best way to avoid dissatisfaction is to prepare your mindset ahead of time. Pitchers are going to spill, table cloths will not remain white, children are gremlins, and chaos is the natural order of the universe. If you accept ahead of time that some things about your gathering can and will go wrong then when they inevitably do, you will be ready, you won’t sweat it, and you’ll be far less likely to play the blame game with family members.
2. Create a Gameplan
“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail, and the opposite is also true.”
When things get out of hand, make sure you have your safeword ready. Little Jonny has his hands in the mash potatoes and he’s flinging them everywhere. “Pineapple! Pineapple!” Those who fail to plan, plan to fail, and the opposite is also true.
If you have a plan in place, you are more likely to succeed when things get out of hand. We’ve all been there before. We’ve prepared for a nice afternoon or evening with our loved ones and things start to take a turn we had not expected. Communicating with your significant other and getting a game plan in place can help you both to know what to do when things don’t exactly head down the road we had hoped.
Whether it’s being able to tell your partner “I need some help in the kitchen for a minute” or if it’s being able to exchange hand signals, whatever you decide, these cues can prove invaluable to help you regroup and get back on track. You can then review the plans you’ve made, determine how to best deal with deviations from that plan, and move forward with your night a seamlessly as possible.
3. Do I Want to Be Happy or Do I Want to Be Right?
“You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”
Your Uncle Robert has strong opinions on sports teams, and don’t get me started on your Aunt Lonnie’s political views! The mere act of conversing sometimes finds us facing viewpoints and opinions that we ourselves do not espouse. What can be done? Our impulse may be to start by correcting what we view as wrong or extremely misguided thinking, but this may not be the wisest course to take.
My mother always said that “you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar.” This holds true when it comes to determining how to respond to family members with whom you do not see eye to eye.
When Robert blasts off about the superiority of his team’s kicker, or when Lonnie proudly declares her support for donkeys, elephants, or independents, the wisest course of action is to live and let live.
Remember: We are here to eat turkey. We are here to eat pie. Just smile and chew. I promise you if you do the food will taste better and the atmosphere with be more serene.
Written by Michelle Nielson, KARMASCORE Content Creator
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