Welcome to your holiday survival guide!
You know the feeling.
The clock strikes 12, you stare at the flood of cars parked in your driveway, you take one last deep breath, plaster a smile on your face, open the door and…
Let the holidays begin!
I mean it could be worse.
Your husband or wife’s cousin could bring his wife, two kids, a dog covered in snot and their trailer home and park it on your front lawn right in the midst of your bickering aunt and uncle arriving.
Oh wait, that’s a plot to a movie.
Let’s be honest, the holidays can be a testing time.
But I have some simple hacks so that you can survive the holidays in one piece.
If you’re ready to stop rubbing your jaw after gritting your teeth through hoards of strangers at the mall or sit through an hour-long rant about the mailman your best friend has a crush on, you’re going to want to sit back and listen up.
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6 Simple Hacks to Survive the Holidays
1. Set Boundaries
image credit: (unsplash) Ross van der Wal @rossvanderwal
Not even kidding.
This one hack is probably all you need from this post because it has the potential to change your life and how you see the holidays but I’m giving you more than just this.
It is the time of giving after all.
All families have their own special traditions but sometimes as we get older, these traditions become more and more, well for lack of a better term, overwhelming.
At 6 am it’s up with the kids.
Then to Aunt Suzie’s by 11 am.
Off to Uncle Bucket’s at 1:30.
But don’t forget about Grandma Josephine and Grandpa Joe’s famous holiday party at 5!
And set some dang boundaries already.
If you give people an inch, chances are they’ll take two.
Decide where you’re going to go, for how long, and make it very clear where you’re putting up boundaries to make the holidays just a little bit more enjoyable.
2. Flex your Communication Muscle
image credit: (unsplash) Joshua Ness @theexplorerdad
Communication may not be something you can put into a wheelbarrow, but you can practice it during the holidays.
In fact, I recommend you do.
If you’re hosting, tell people what you expect from them food or otherwise.
Vegan s’more pie from Uncle Joe.
Booze from crazy cousin Eddie.
On the other hand, if you’re running from one place to another, tell people where you’ll be and for how long.
Trust me, they’ll appreciate it.
People spend hours, days and even weeks planning an event for the holidays only to have people stay for an hour or two. Let your friends and/or family know how long you’ll be staying so that they can prepare accordingly ahead of time.
And don’t be afraid to ask for a time change to better fit everyone’s schedule.
Sit down with your friends or family before the big event and pick out a time that works best or is at least a compromise for all involved.
That way no one’s feelings are hurt, everything is out on the table and everyone is on the same page.
3. Don’t Put your Happiness In Someone Else’s Hands
image credit: (unsplash) Ben White @benwhitephotography
So often we give all of our power away to the people around us by allowing them to dictate how we feel at any given moment.
This is especially true during the holiday season.
Frankly, no one is in charge of how you feel besides you and it is no one’s job to make the perfect holiday get together.
You get to decide how you’re going to feel.
You get to decide how the holiday goes.
Keep your power.
Don’t give it away to that one nephew that leaves his toys all over the house while simultaneously giving your walls a fresh coach of paint the color of mashed potatoes and gravy.
If there’s a type of conversation that gets under your skin, stay out of it.
If there’s a family member who rubs you the wrong way, go talk to someone else and let it go.
Decide on happiness, joy and having fun and those situations will find you.
4. Don’t Leave Everything Until the Last Minute
image credit: (unsplash) Anna Dziubinska @annadziubinska
I think this one is probably pretty self-explanatory but eh, here it is.
Check-in with every guest who is coming to your holiday gathering and get a headcount.
Buy all the food, delegate tasks, and plates to everyone that you need to.
Have a sit-down and decide the times, places, gift ideas, food, whatever the heck else with everyone involved.
This will drastically reduce stress and take some of the pressure off of you.
And don’t go out the night before to buy gifts.
It’s not fun.
You’re going to regret it.
Just don’t do it.
If you’re looking for gift ideas, one word. Amazon…Prime…Free….Shipping.
Okay, that’s four words but you get the gist.
And you can also check out these posts for a more helpful list of gifts.
5. Set up a Quiet Area
image credit: (unsplash) Paul Gilmore @paulgilmore_
Kinda like an island of reprieve during the holidays, a quiet area is simply just that.
An area away from the crowd were people can sit and talk, take a minute to themselves or curl in a ball and wait it out.
The holidays are for catching up.
But sometimes it’s hard to hear over the roar of your dad’s laughter or your grandma yelling into your brother’s ear.
The introverts of your family and friends will thank you for this.
All it requires is a few chairs and/or a table set up in another room away from the noise.
People will do the rest.
It might be a small trick but it works wonders to keep people as happy as you can.
And if you’re at someone else’s house, grab some chairs and make your own little island of quiet conversation.
6. Keep Things Interactive
image credit: (unsplash) Marina Khrapova @mimiori
It’s during lulls that talk about politics start-up and oh, there goes a turkey bone and sweet potatoes flying across the table.
Look, games aren’t just for kids (they’re not Trix cereal after all).
Keeping the activities moving and grooving is a fun way to keep everyone busy and engaged. Including the kids who often get bored after about five minutes of the adults conversing.
You can also get festive and play some holiday-specific games.
Or even gather around the VCR (uh what’s that????) and watch old family movies.
It doesn’t really matter what you do but the point is to keep people moving, engaged and having fun and games are a fantastic, simple and cheap way to do this.
The Holidays are Inevitable – Do What You Can – Leave the Rest
Holiday gatherings come around only a few times a year depending on what you celebrate and how many gatherings you have.
You can either be a grinch through the whole thing, or find a way to make them more enjoyable.
It’s your choice.
But at the end of the day, I’ve given six hacks that are sure to make your holidays more filled with cheer…or at least some confetti or glitter or something.
Now go out there and have yourself a dang good time!
And don’t forget to share this with your family and friends so they can get on board too.