Next to hectic traveling woes and last-minute shopping, spending an extended amount of time with family may be one of the top three biggest holiday stresses. Luckily we have silver screen examples — both naughty and nice — to glean advice in this area. We've rounded up 10 survival tips from holiday flicks for spending this most wonderful time of the year with your family.
Balance time with your relatives and significant other. Be fair when it comes to divvying up alone time with the hubby or boyfriend, and the time you spend with family members.
Have a sense of humor. Ever notice that the only people who seem to get through the holidays relatively unscathed are the ones who are constantly cracking jokes? If you know your family is going to be a train wreck, prepare yourself for that, don’t take it too seriously, and think of all the entertaining stories you’ll have to tell once it’s all over.
Think of others first. It’s important to take care of yourself during the stressful holiday season, but it can’t be all you all the time! A little generosity goes a long way with family, and finding ways to show your nearest and dearest you care will keep you and everyone else in the spirit, even if you don’t have giant, free bags of money to hand out.
Don't get bullied by family members. Whether it's a hideous sweater or a blind date, stand your ground when facing the fam, especially if you're constantly being asked about your relationship status.
Don't be a Scrooge with family get-togethers. Making the effort to attend school plays and holiday dinners will mean a lot to your family. So try to squeeze these shindigs into your schedule when possible, even if you just pop in for a bit.
Careful mixing significant others with relatives. If it's the first time your family is meeting your BF, be sure to have an escape route in case things don't go as planned. And hopefully your SO has carefully weighed the pros and cons of popping the question during the holidays.
Take time for yourself, but don’t disappear. Especially during Christmas morning pancakes! It’s important to get a little alone time when you’re inundated with togetherness, but don’t be that family member who takes three hours to pick up more eggnog from the grocery store.
Don’t say something you might regret. Sure, you probably won’t wake up in an alternate universe where you were never born, but hurtful words during the holidays can be pretty devastating. Even if you’re not so worried about the long-term implications of saying something hurtful, you’re probably stuck in close quarters with your family for several days, and nasty arguments can make things awkward fast.
Keep your expectations in check.
Let’s face it: you’re not going to have a Norman Rockwell Christmas, get everything you ever wanted, and have the entire holiday go off without a hitch. So do yourself and the rest of your family a favor and stay positive but realistic to avoid Clark Griswold-esque meltdowns when things don’t go as planned.
Relax the rules with family house guests. It's OK to have reasonable requests like asking that they don't illegally chop down a Christmas tree from Central Park and stuff it into the living room. But if they just have unusual quirks like consuming all your maple syrup or leaving the beds unmade, take a deep breath and remember they are your loved ones, and bending the rules won't kill you.