Ah, the romance of home for the holidays.
For some the holidays are full of sweet family togetherness, joy and love. Not for you? Me neither. Never was. I could have used a “how to survive the holidays” manual. Maybe you could use one, too.
Do any of these scenarios seem familiar?
The family member that drinks too much and gets belligerent. Or teary. Kids melting down. Somebody’s always sick with the flu or a bad cold. Or arguing. Maybe the turkey isn’t ready on time or the family’s filled up on appetizers and aren’t interested in the multi-course gourmet holiday dinner you’ve prepared. Maybe kids don’t like what Aunt Helen prepared.
When it comes to the holidays, many of us are happy just to survive them.
So here are a few simple holiday survival strategies.
Make it easy on yourself.
Save your fancy gourmet creations for a dinner party. Make the meal easy to fix, share the preparation and do as much make-ahead food as possible so you, too, can enjoy the day. It’s your holiday, too. If some of your company isn’t cooking anything, ask them to help clean up.
Avoid picky-eater arguments.
If your kids or grandkids are picky eaters, this is not the time to coax them to try giblet stuffing. Do have something they like to eat, even it if it’s just mac ‘n cheese. And if you aren’t their mom, have their mom fix it.
Include high-protein appetizers.
We metabolize alcohol better with some protein in our tummies. If you’re serving drinks, have high-protein appetizers available.
Make family visits AFTER the meal.
If possible, make the rounds of family after you eat. That avoids having family members who are half-potted at the table.
Shiz happens on holidays. Keep the peace on this one day.
Many Christian families celebrate both Christmas Eve and Christmas together. I think that’s a bad idea. If you have a multi-day holiday, too, here’s a tip: Pick one holiday for a family dinner. Do what you want the other day, even if it’s just going to a movie and having wine and cheese.
AND THE VERY BEST PART:
Plan a post-holiday debrief: a get together out somewhere with your favorite female friends when the whole thing is over. A safe place to express your frustration, laugh at what happened and to just have the good time you hoped you’d have on the holiday.
Because that group of friends? They’ll get you. They probably have their own crazy holiday stories to relate.