Holiday Get-Togethers: 5 Tips for a Good Time With Your Family

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.

The holidays can be a time of love, laughter, and making memories. They can also be a time of too much travel, high stress levels, or even hurt feelings and unwanted drama. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your holiday get-togethers.

  1. Set the boundaries early. If you’re hosting, set a date and time for everyone to arrive… and also to go home. If you’re hosting a meal, it’s okay to say, “Everyone is invited for dinner from 5:00-8:00pm!” That’s plenty of time to eat and love on each other, if you say it is. If you’re hosting out of town family for a few days, it’s alright to tell them they’re welcome from the 24th-27th. The end. It’s easier to tell everyone that on the front end, than to welcome guests for who knows how long. An open-ended invitation can lead to someone overstaying their welcome.
  2. Keep your family on a semi-normal sleep schedule. If your baby usually takes a nap, try to still let her. If your toddler goes to bed super early, try not to extend his bedtime too late. Tired kiddos can make for difficult days, and sacrificing their sleep (or yours!) just to make something happen isn’t always a good choice.
  3. Make sure your family is fed. This sounds obvious when the holidays seem like they’re all about eating, but sometimes adults can eat huge lunches and not feel the need to eat much dinner… but kids and even teens are still going to need at least three meals a day, even if they forged themselves on turkey at lunch (or if they’re like mine, are three desserts).
  4. Make time to relax. This looks different for everyone, but especially if you have an introvert in your family (or you are one!) it’s important to have some time to zone out, read a book by yourself, or snuggle on the couch and watch a movie. Sometimes time with your own family unit gets scarce when you’re trying to see extended family.
  5. Don’t overcommit. This is the theme that ties 1-4 together, but it might be the most difficult one to achieve. It’s okay to not make the entire feast for your 30-member family all by yourself. It’s okay not to attend a Christmas party every single weekend in December. You don’t have to say yes to everything – be released right now from the pressure to do it all!

What would you add to this list for surviving the holidays?

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