The Holiday Five Step Program for Family Get Togethers

The five-step process for surviving the holidays

  • Step 1 - No alcohol.
  • Step 2 - No silly questions.
  • Step 3 - No serving stuff they don't like.
  • Step 4 - No silent treatments.
  • Step 5 - Pray.

Sounds simple doesn't it? Unfortunately, most of us will spend the next two months dreading that trip to Aunt Karen's or over to the old lady who smells like crème de menthe. The fact of the matter is is that God made our families not us. Oh, sure we chose our in-laws when we chose our spouses, but that doesn't mean that nobody can get along. The holidays should be a time of sharing, caring and giving.

Alcohol adds fuel to the flames of discontent. There's no reason why Sam Adams or the King of Beers has to be invited. Make your holiday celebrations an alcohol free zone. If you can't then the problem lies in the alcohol's control on your life not your control of the alcohol. This upfront determination that there will be no drinking, including wine, will not enable those that can't control their tongues when under the influence. It also serves as a sobering reminder that most of the highway deaths during the holidays is due in part to drinking and driving. So your declaration of no alcohol serves three purposes; it keeps mouths shut, cooler heads prevailing and prevents any kind of accident to which you would be an accessory.

Second, no silly questions. Unless you haven't spoken with your family (in-laws included) in decades, there's no reason to ask questions that make you look idiotic. You should not ask: How's the job hunt going, Bob? especially if you know that Bob was downsized four weeks before Christmas. If there is news to share, share it but make it joyful noise that has resounding ring and gives your family yet another reason to celebrate. There should be no questions or innuendos about not having grandchildren yet, somebody being unemployed or definitely about their income bracket.

There's one in every crowd. One person who doesn't like yams or stuffing or pickles. However, if there are a whole consortium of them, like everyone else but the folks who live in your house, please don't deliberately cook that food. Save it for the evening or the next day when you're having leftovers. I know it's your house and you should be able to do what you want, but let's face it. This is your family and they will know when you have made spiced pigs feet on purpose.

The silent treatment is the silence from Hell. Aunt Marsha isn't speaking to Aunt Jan and hasn't for 30+ years because Marsha got all of the attention as children. Get over it! Be civil. This is a two hour affair, at most, that consists of shoving food into your gullet. If you can't be civil don't show up.

Finally, prayer will help in all situations this holiday but most especially after the invitations are sent out. Read Psalm 23 and take a cue from the Master Shepherd and lead your family like sheep to the holiday dinners of contentment.

Holidays don't have to be stressful or full of discord. Follow these five steps and know that you're pleasing your Father in heaven and your family on earth.

author: Laura Seger

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