This morning I taped a segment for WEWS (ABC affiliate) Channel 5’s nationally syndicated show, The List, which airs Tuesday, November 20th at 7:00 p.m. The topic … my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! The reason I love this holiday is that at Thanksgiving, although there is food preparation, there isn’t the stress of decorating, buying presents, wrapping presents, holiday cards, etc. To me, the focus of Thanksgiving is on being with those you love – sitting around a table, enjoying wonderful food and the interactions between people.
But what if you don’t look forward to some of those interactions? For some, Thanksgiving can highlight dysfunction in a family, whether it’s between siblings, in-laws and adult children, or relatives in general. Because Thanksgiving is more about just being together, it can spotlight the negative nuances or harbored resentments in a family. So how do you maneuver a situation like that? Below are a list of tips to help you minimize the stress and maximize the joy at Thanksgiving:
- Let go of perfection. No one has the Brady Bunch or the Waltons for a family. Go into it knowing there will be a certain level of discomfort and just roll with it.
- If your family tends to generate negativity over an extended period of time, set boundaries ahead of time. Invite the guests for a specific time period. Plan to go to a movie at some point to help clear out the house. Trust me, it works!
- If you are going to a relative’s home for Thanksgiving, give your host a heads-up that you’ll be leaving at a certain time. You don’t want to eat and run, but you don’t have to stay for an indefinite amount of time.
- Know your limits. If your sister or mother-in-law asks for 3 side dishes and you can only make 1, speak up and say so!
- If you are going to be guest at a relative’s house, even if it’s someone with whom you’re uncomfortable, send a thank you note – in advance – of the holiday. It can lay the groundwork for a more positive experience.
- Avoid family gossip. Take the high road and refrain or leave the room when it starts.
For more ideas on how to have a sane and enjoyable Thanksgiving, click here.