A family holiday is a great time to see our loved ones but it can be very stressful. Whether you are having family at your house or visiting them at theirs a lot of planning is often involved. Families bring us special bonds and additional stresses we don't have with other people.
The most important way to enjoy your family holiday more is to decide what you want out of it. Do you want to relax, have more fun, or simply have time to talk meaningful to your family? If you approach this time with a goal rather than getting caught up in the business or preparation or family drama you will have a better time.
To make this time together a bit easier consider the following:
Make plans ahead of time
- Determine who is hosting the family gathering? If the details are agreed upon early there will be less stress and more time for planning.
- What time will it start? Make sure everyone knows when to be where to enjoy this time together.
If you are hosting
- Keep it simple.
- Food – Making an elaborate meal will result in you spending most of your time in the kitchen and not interactive with your family and enjoying your holiday.
- Decorations – Some light cleaning to prepare for guest and some fresh flowers would make your guests feel welcome. If you enjoy elaborate decor feel free to have it but make sure it can be done ahead of time. Your guests are there to see you, any gorgeous decorating you do is just icing.
Stress-free stay with relatives
- Bring a host gift. Having guest(s) in your home brings additional work to your relatives. Show your appreciation by bringing them a host gift. A nice bottle of wine or other product local to your environment would be appreciated.
- Pick up after yourself and don't expect your relatives to wait on you. Don't leave a mess in the bathroom or dirty dishes lying about. Respect your host's home and be on your best behavior.
- Help out. Is there a meal you can prepare or some cleaning before the big party you can help with?
- Keep your kids in line. Your kids should be on their best behavior when staying with relatives. This means they should behave better than they do in your home. Have them say please and thank you and be sure to give them the directions they need on how to behave. Never make your relatives do behavior instruction on your kids (for example, tell your kids when they need to share toys or pick up after themselves). Having your relatives do this can be uncomfortable for everyone.
- Check here for additional tips on how to be a good guest so you get invited back again and again.
Enjoy the big family party
- Take a deep breath and count to 5. A large gathering of family might be overwhelming or that certain relative could be irritating you. Rather than flying off the handle take a deep breath and count to 5. These are not people you may see every day but they are important people in your life and you want to keep relations cordial
- Ever have those family events where you talk to a relative who you just don't know what to say to? Ask another family member for an update on major events before attending the party. This will give you a conversation starter.
- With older relatives ask about their younger days. What was their favorite trip or event in their life to date? This is a great way to learn more about them and you'll probably see them in a whole new light as well.
- Spend some time reminiscing. The shared memories will strengthen your family bond and make you feel great. It is fun to recall those shared moments. My father and I recently recalled a prior 4th of July celebration when a lit firework jumped on top of a box of matches. It was a tiny moment in time from over 25 years ago yet it was fun to recall and talk about it.
- Enjoy one of your family members' favorite activities. You may not enjoy this activity but your relative will likely cherish sharing their love of golf or boating with you.
- If you need a bit of time to step away to keep from becoming overwhelmed take the time to do so.
Throughout the family holiday remind yourself what is truly important. This time you having with your relatives has so much meaning and familial bonds attached to it. It may be hard to see while you are in the moments, but we almost always look back on these times with happiness and a wish that there had been more opportunities for it.
Are you spending your next holiday with family? How will you make this visit a success? Share your experiences in the comments below or on Facebook.
Lori Thayer is passionate about finding ways to have the best life, from healthy eating, healthy living, saving money and enjoying life. She is excited to share these tips with others. Improve your health with her FREE article "5 Easy Habits To Improve Your Health". Sign up now in the upper right corner of this page.