“Christmas is the family holiday.” — Missy Vanglider, Surviving Christmas
Unfortunately, not everyone has a family; but for those that do, I cannot stress this enough. Family is important, not only through the holiday season, but all year round. However, I am focusing primarily on bringing your family closer for Christmas in this blog post. That does not mean that you cannot implement the following tips the rest of the year though. Also, the content contained herein applies to not only your immediate loved ones (those living in the same household) but to your extended family as well, even if you have one or two nuts that fell a bit too far from the genealogical tree.
So without further ado, here are some tips to help bring your family closer and survive the Christmas season…
- Turn off those devices! — Let’s face it, it’s the twenty-first century and anyone and everything is connected to the internet nowadays, from your mobile devices to your televisions, and even your appliances (if you’re one of those folks who has a smart refrigerator). However, for the sake of your sanity and those around you, please be kind and turn off all unnecessary devices so you can give your loved ones 100% of your attention. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, but the reward of closeness will be worth it.
- “If you cannot say anything nice, then do not say anything at all.” — Thumper, Bambi — There is nothing that will kill that holiday spirit faster than a poisoned tongue. As everyone knows, there are 365 days a year (with the exception of leap years), and that means that even though you shouldn’t say unkind things at all, please refrain for twenty-four hours from saying anything that would ruin the Christmas holiday for anyone else. If, by chance, you are spending more time than that with family that drive you into a frenzy, then all I can say is this: Good Luck!
Here are some things you should NOT say when trying to be nice this holiday season
At least the turkey isn’t burnt this time.
Thanks for not wearing your Halloween mask today.
I’m enjoying your company today. Ordinarily, I can’t stand you.
Sorry, honey, the game was going into overtime. Apparently dinner was, too.
How long do you plan on being here?
I can’t believe you’re still alive!
If you need me, dear, I’ll be in the garage with a six-pack until your family leaves.
- Open your presents together, as a family, instead of ripping them open like a committee of vultures — Appoint someone (eg. the father) to play the part of Santa Claus and sit down round the Christmas tree. Then, one by one, have that person select a gift and hand it to the indicated recipient. Everyone takes merriment in watching that person open his or her gift before the next one is selected.
- Afterwards, everyone should work together at cleaning up the littered bows, ribbons, and wrapping paper.
- Contrary to long-held traditions, the kitchen is NOT a place solely for women. The closer family should cook their holiday dinner as a team, with each person having specific tasks, intermingled with lively, appropriate, conversation. Not only will your family grow closer, but that hot, delicious, food will make it to your stomach much faster.
- Families ought to sit at the table and dine together. All the while, discuss what has happened since your last gathering. Remember to remain positive and avoid negative speech at all times (this includes complaining, grumbling, and nitpicking). You might also thank those who gave you such wonderful gifts, and describe in a few words why you immediately loved your presents. In doing so, please describe intended uses, the prior need for, etc. Do not mention monetary value, comparison to what others have, or anything else of the sort.
So there you have it! Bear in mind that these are only a few examples of how to bring your family closer and survive the holiday season spent with extended family. Feel free to implement other useful tips to make your Christmas both merry and bright, however, the aforementioned has been outlined to get you started, thinking outside your box of normality, and cultivate the relationships that ought to be most dear to you. For you have but one family, and you should count yourself the luckiest person alive for the joy and companionship they have brought to your life!