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Does the holiday season make you dread family get-togethers? This great advice may help you avoid family drama over the holidays… we hope!

Photo credit: Flickr user General Mills

In an ideal world, the holidays are filled with an overabundance of peace, love, joy, and gratitude. But for many of us, the holiday season means surviving dysfunctional family gatherings, at best.

Since we can’t choose our families, we can at least learn how to endure them once a year. Try these tips to avoid having your holiday festivities fizzle over family feuds!

Set boundaries.

So you’ve decided to host the family gatherings at your house—aren’t you the brave one! As the queen of the castle, you get to put everyone in check and let all of your kinfolk know the ground rules in your house.

Be neutral.

It never fails: No matter how many prayers you said before the relatives arrived, someone is bound to bring up an old beef that happened so long ago, no one really remembers what happened. Without warning, you may find yourself in the middle of a disagreement between your favorite auntie and a cousin no one particularly likes. But, as tempting as it is, don’t take sides. Instead, remind everyone that regardless of differences, it’s still a blessing to be with family and constant bickering will surely destroy the holidays’ festive mood.

Be realistic.

Many of us have high expectations of a perfect holiday. But for some of us, the holiday season can bring emotional turmoil, stress, and depression. If your spirit dampens during the holidays, try not to stress if things don’t go as well as you planned. Accept the reality that we live in an imperfect world, and yes, we have imperfect families.

Stay focused.

While family get-togethers are great, there’s usually one family member who sniffs around for the juicy details of your personal life. Or they can’t help but comment that you gained a few pounds since they last saw you. Don’t let these little irritations upset you. Continue to focus on the true meaning of the holidays and enjoy being with your family.

Take the high road.

If there’s a relative or partner of a sibling that you just don’t like, don’t let those feelings interfere with the joy of the season. Greet them warmly with season’s greetings, and just think—when the celebrations are over, you won’t have to see them for another year.

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