How to Survive Your Family This Holiday

Every family has them - the difficult ones. The aunts, uncles, child, or grandparent who is hard to get along with. This list of tips will make it better.

You’re praying that this year will be different. You’re exited to see most of your family, but there is that one person who gets under your skin and ruins the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving you plan and prepare for every year.

All families have them…

The sister who’s critical and competitive.
The aunt married to your mother’s brother who insists on telling you how to raise your children.
The grandparent who has to tell the same unpleasant story every holiday.
The child who whines and won’t eat anything on the table.
The uncle who finds it necessary to argue about everything and anything.
The ____________________________. (You fill in the blank.)

You’re blood-pressure is rising just reading about them isn’t it. You know you have someone in mind . . . that difficult family member who frays your last nerve and makes you wonder if it’s all worth the effort.

Here are a few tips I’ve gathered that just might help:

  1. Cover the day with prayer – Start now. Pray for each person by name and ask the Lord to bless your time together. Take it a step further and ask him to bless them, too.
  2. Make table assignments – If you know that Uncle George doesn’t get along with Aunt Patsy put them at opposite ends of the table. Let the kids make those cute holiday place card holders.

  3. Keep everyone busy – Give them jobs before the meal, and plan a game or project for later in the day. Have the children take photos or make place-mats. Set up your Christmas tree without the ornaments – and let them decorate it while you are in the kitchen. You can always move them around later if you don’t like the placement.

  4. Invite someone new – Inviting someone who is alone for the holiday, it helps to keep everyone on their best behavior. (I have a friend who does this and says it works like magic.)

  5. Write, I’m thankful for you because notes – Place each person’s name at the top of a piece of paper. Without signing any names have each family member write down one or two reasons why they are thankful for them. Read them aloud at the end of the day – and gift each person with their list to take home.

Every. family has them - the difficult ones. The aunts, uncles, child, or grandparent who is hard to get along with. This list of tips will make it better.

Would you add anything?

What are your favorite ways to help your family get along?

Do you establish any rules going into the day?

I am praying you enjoy a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. We have so many reasons to praise the Lord for all He has done for us. Remember He chose your parents and siblings. He did it for a reason. Embrace the lessons as well as the blessings.

Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son. Ephesians 1:4-6 (NLT)

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  1. Dawn says:

    This is great advice! Your title really caught my eye. Something that I finally learned to do, in dealing with difficult family members over the holidays, was to plan ahead and “sandwich” the times I know will be harder between activities away from everything, that I can look forward to.
    Dawn recently posted…20 Best Posts on How To Encourage Your ChildMy Profile

  2. enthusiasticallydawn says:

    I agree with Michele’s comment above! I am amazed how God is able to intervene and reveal Himself in practical ways in the down and dirty of our real days!

    I have parents who divorced while I was a baby…that is a story for another day, but by God’s grace these two people, along with my step-mom sit at the Thanksgiving table together…a real life miracle.

    I will review this list this week, and apply as needed but I really like the idea of the notes and am thinking of doing something along those lines this year…we are a small gathering so will pray and see ! Thanks, Deb. Wrapping up my post for FnF as we speak…(the next one. lol.- down to the wire.)
    enthusiasticallydawn recently posted…Rise Up America (A Prayer of Hope)My Profile

  3. Dana says:

    I also leave pieces of paper and pens at each place setting for everyone to write what they are thankful for. I also love your idea of inviting someone new to the dinner so that everyone’s on their best behavior…smart move!
    Dana recently posted…Top Ten Gifts for HimMy Profile

  4. marthajaneorlando says:

    I love the idea of praying for the day and for each person attending the week before. It sets the tone perfectly! And yes, I’ve laid down the law this year that no one is to talk politics. 🙂 Sure as shootin’, that riles the hornets’ nest!
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving, Deb!

  5. Bill Grandi says:

    I wish my family was coming in for Thanksgiving. They live 4 hours away and we will see them at Christmas. My family for the day will be serving our community a free Thanksgiving meal. I can survive anything with that!!
    Bill Grandi recently posted…UnforgettableMy Profile

  6. Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom says:

    So true, and such great advice! Thanks for the encouragement going into an often challenging time… going to have to book-mark this to read again before Christmas!! ;P

    Such a fun link-up too! I’ll definitely try to join this week!! Thanks for coming by Friday Frivolity!
    Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom recently posted…Friday Frivolity – A Nanowrimo Hangover and A Calorically-Booby-Trapped Pizza!! Join the Link-Up for all things Fun, Funny, Happy & Hopeful!My Profile

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