5 Tips for Hosting and Surviving Holidays with Extended Family

Even though it continues to be unseasonably warm here is Arkansas, the holiday season is quickly approaching. With the holidays often comes extended family.  

With the holidays often comes extended family.  



Celebrating the holiday’s with extended family is kind of one of those love/hate things. We enjoy the idea, but sometimes the reality is not so great.  Your space is invaded and though you seemingly spent weeks cleaning the house, it looks like a tornado hit five minutes after everyone arrives. The food is great but there is always that one family member that would complain if their turkey were studded with diamonds and served on a 24-carat gold platter.  There is a cousin whose kids are holy terrors and every threat she tosses at them is empty and they know it.  The mother-in-law who “means wells” but points out your every flaw. 

But there also moments of joy, of silence, of happiness. And they don’t all have to come when the last family member backs out of the driveway. 

Spending time with extended family is tough but it can be bearable and have moments of greatness.  Here are 5 tips to help you survive this holiday season; crazy uncle and all!

5 Tips for Hosting and Surviving Holidays with Extended Family

  1. Keep a sacred space just for your immediate family. 
    Grandma may not enjoy sleeping on a twin bed or sharing the spare bedroom with your sister-in-law but she can handle it for a few days.  Don’t give up your bedroom to extended family. It may seem like the nice thing to do, but keeping your bedroom for yourself and making it a space where you and your spouse and/or children can gather for a few minutes of alone time each night can be critical to your sanity. 
  2. Smile and Nod (and have an unrelated standby)
    Trust that things will likely not go as planned. The best thing you can do is to smile, nod, and just go with the flow. Have a close friend on standby and text your buddy when things get crazy. Get your frustrations out with a friend rather than teaming family members against each other. Everyone will eventually leave but hard feelings can be harbored for a long time.
  3. Be a wallflower.
    When things get crazy…be an observer and not a participant. When we are on our own turf we tend to be a little more defensive.  Practice counting to ten, deep breathing, or other relaxation exercises when things get tough. 
  4. Plan a family outing.
    When we had big family get-togethers when I was a kid we always had a few family activities that got us out of the house.
    *Go to a movie.
    *Go for a long walk.
    *Walk or drive to look at Christmas lights.
    *Visit a local park or museum.
  5. Relax
    Don’t feel that it is up to you to make everything special. Relax and enjoy yourself.  Sneak away for a warm bath. Declare one hour of quiet time where everyone can either go outside or find a quiet activity in the house.   

The holidays can and probably will be stressful but don’t forget to allow yourself to enjoy them.

Planning meals can be another holiday stressor. Be sure to check back on Monday when I will be sharing several recipes that will feed a crowd without breaking the bank!

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