As much as we see those cookie cutter images of families enjoying the perfect holiday together, the truth is it’s not reality. For every family that has a great holiday season there's a family that is in complete turmoil and disarray. Drama fills the dinner table and tension disrupts present openings. Everyone hates being in the same room or maybe complete depression brings everyone down. How do you cope?
I can’t even come close to explaining the varying ideas based on the varying circumstances that exist but I can give a generalization of things that may be useful. In writing this article, I also encourage each and every one of you to take to social media and other avenues to add to the collection. Let’s build this as a resource that others can use and leave them with more than 3 ways to deal with a crazy family during the holidays!
Have A Plan B
Usually, we have an expectation or assessment of the situation before we even get there. As soon as we enter the room and see Uncle Ray we immediately think, “Yep, he’s drunk.” Before we even leave our bed we think, “Something will go wrong today.”
Instead of having good or bad thoughts, temper them. Just exist and plan accordingly. That sibling argument that breaks out every year, maybe it won’t happen or maybe it will. Uncle Ray tipping over the Christmas tree may not be that bad this year. Either way, expect nothing but plan for everything. If Aunt Clair starts that emotional rant, have that plan in place where you maybe excuse yourself or exit the room.
If you know a certain part of your family always causes tension at their house, maybe visit for a bitbut already have a plan in place where you’ve planned to visit other relatives before the days over. As a child, I know it’s hard to escape some realities so maybe you create a safe haven in your room and after visiting for a while with family, escape to your safe haven. As a child, I never was one to mingle in the adult’s business so no matter what my safe haven was my room. I had a routine. I’d go visit with family, show my face and give respect then retreat to my room. I’d already have a collection of Christmas gifts ready to explore and I got to know my new collection until the noise grew faint. Find your safe haven or plan B.
You Are Not A Product
One thing that needs to be at the forefront ofyour psyche is that you are not a product of your environment. Just because your holidays are filled with dysfunction does not mean you are dysfunctional or that something is wrong with you. It doesn’t mean that your future family will behave the same. Break that habit.
From another view, don’t allow yourself to partake in the hostile environment. Walk away from arguments. Refuse to lift your voice above a respectable tone. Learn how to exit stage left all together! If you continuously include yourself in these things, it will form a habit and soon it will become a part of your memory, a reflex almost. Stop it before it even gets started. You are to be treasured. You deserve an amazing holiday season and to have fun as everyone else. You deserve to be loved, just as Christ wanted. You deserve to be able to reflect on the true meaning of the season. Under no circumstance are you to think that this is the norm. Change it.
Be A Leader, Share The Wealth
Sometimes it takes one voice to be a catalyst for change. Maybe that voice is yours. Step up and be the leader. Maybe no one understands just how much it has affected you that the family is a dysfunction during the holidays. Let them know how you feel and maybe what’s bothering you but do so in a respectable manner. Sometimes, we are whats’ standing in the way of change because we simply don’t speak up. I’m not saying this will change anything because in some cases, it won’t. But by now, the craziness of the holidays has worn on you. If all else fails, at least you’ve spoken.
Also, maybe you can visit various family members who haven’t ascended into pure chaos. Maybe you can visit cousins or grandparents; aunts or uncles who can give you a safe and amazing holiday. Maybe a friend has invited you to their family gathering; you could visit for a portion of your day and have some sense of relief.
Prayer: Father, the holiday seasons are always so difficult. My family needs you right now and we can’t do this alone. This takes a God-sized blessing and I pray for your grace. In saying that, I know there are other families who are hurting just as much. Theirs someone who’s hurting so bad and I just pray that they find their sense of peace and safety. I pray, dear Father, that they can have the holiday they deserve. I ask these and all other blessings in Jesus name I pray, amen.