Remember that movie Four Christmases? The answer for Reese Witherspoon's and Vince Vaughn's characters was to escape to somewhere tropical instead of facing their families on Christmas. But in real life, you don't have to run away from your family to avoid drama during the holidays.
Tell yourself before your family get-together that you're not going to let the little things bother you. Ask yourself if it's really that important how the turkey is prepared or what the cutoff age should be for the kids' table. When you're in the heat of the moment, these small things can get blown out of proportion. But by telling yourself in advance that these silly scenarios won't get the best of you, you'll have more energy to spend on getting along with your family.
If there's ever been a time to pick your battles, it's when you're in tight quarters with your family. The last thing you want during your holiday celebration is an argument. If you're mother-in-law's digs are about to dig in or your sister's passive aggressive comments are making you feel aggressive, bite down hard on your tongue and remember that you'll only be together for a short time. Take the high road. You (and your family) will be happy you did.
If the air is thickening inside, get some fresh air outside. Take a walk around the neighborhood and breathe. You'll clear your head and be in a much better frame of mind by the time you arrive back where you started. And you'll even get some exercise out of it, too.
Don't be afraid to get a hotel room. Having a place to retreat each night can make all the difference -- especially if Aunt Ida is grating on your last nerve or the thought of listening to another one of Uncle Dave's stories has the potential to send you over the edge. Playing host? Reach out to the family long before they arrive and iron out the details of who will sleep where. You'll likely avoid any potential drama over the accommodations if you handle it in advance.
If all else fails, just pretend that the drama isn't there. Paste a smile on your face, have a glass of something stronger than apple cider and let it roll off. Even though your family can drive you nuts, the holidays are a time to focus on being thankful you have them.
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