Holiday Survival Guide: 7 Ways to Make it through the Holidays and maybe even enjoy them!

Multi-Generation Family Sitting Around Table Eating Meal

You’ve been looking forward to the holidays and now it’s December and you’re ready to celebrate. You’ve found your mittens in the back of the closet, studied for your final exams and sipped hot chocolate as you brainstormed your holiday gift list. Visions of creating that perfect holiday selfie for Instagram dance in your head…

Reality hits! You still have family gatherings to get through. Lots of opportunities for Grandma to casually mention how she’s never really liked your hair that color, and times for your Uncle to ask you why you didn’t get straight A’s last semester.

In preparation for this season of joy, here are a few ideas on how to survive the holiday season.

  1. Plan Ahead and Manage Your Expectations: Your Uncle (or another relative) will probably ask you about the exact thing you don’t want to discuss. Know this ahead of time! The only reaction you can control is your own. Think about how you want to respond before the gathering to minimize any angst you may feel.
  1. Get Outside: If you want to avoid the drama, it’s ok to take a break! Excuse yourself for a short walk. Listen to music or enjoy some quiet time in the fresh air to “let it go.”
  1. Maintain Your Routine: If a morning jog or chat with a friend keeps you happy, try to carve out some time to do these things before or after a holiday gathering. That being said…
  1. Flexibility is Key: Although it’s important to maintain your regular routine, remember that this may not be possible if your parents/guardian expects you to be at a family gathering. Remind yourself that this is only a few days of the year and you will be back to your normal routine and hanging out with friends very soon.
  1. Lighten up! Laughter is one of the most important things in life and it keeps us sane. Life is too short to not appreciate the fact that your Uncle or other relative makes the same dumb joke every year. Try not to roll your eyes so hard this year!
  1. Love the One You’re With: You may not be spending time with your friends today but remember that there can actually be some pretty cool people in your own family. Try getting to know a family member that you don’t see very often. Here’s a good place to start: “What did you like to do for fun when you were my age?”
  1. Unplug and Reconnect: Turn off your cell phone for a few hours. Listen to your grandmother’s stories, help out in the kitchen and talk with family members. This is your time to show others how much you appreciate them by being present and in the moment.

The attitude you have going into the gathering will create the experience and outcome. Go into a party with a smile on your face and you are more likely to have a better time. Enjoy the season!