by Tara Pringle Jefferson
Christmas time is here! Family gatherings, big stick-to-your-ribs feasts and more football than you’ve got time for.
But for some families, personalities clash (big time) during this time of year. Mother- and daughter-in-law bicker. The siblings fight. The father-in-law retreats to the bedroom.
You know, family drama.
But the holidays don’t have to be filled with arguments and snide comments when spending time with the in-laws. You CAN make it through the visits and leave with a smile on your face.
(To be clear, I enjoy my in-laws. Yes, they are a loud bunch, and they are roll deep – I swear there must be at least 100 at every family gathering. But I know it’s not always fun when you would prefer to be with your family or when your family is hundreds of miles away.)
So how can you ensure that you and yours have a happy holiday?
1) Discuss with your spouse how long you’re going to stay there ahead of time. If you know it’s difficult to be in the house for longer than one football game, agree to begin packing it up and putting on your coats shortly after the clock winds down.
2) Be extra agreeable. This should go without saying, but if you are dreading the trip the whole week before, and then thinking how much you’re going to be annoyed the whole way there, then chances are, you’re going to notice all the little things that irk you and it will just reinforce what you already think. But this time, go in with warmth. Hug them if you don’t usually get that close. Offer to help with the dishes. Give them a compliment on their new hair style. Just stay positive.
3) Focus on the things you DO like. Your mother-in-law might drive you batty because she can’t understand why on Earth you’d want to wear your hair natural but you can’t deny she’s the best cook in all of Georgia. Celebrate her culinary talents and stuff your face with her world-famous sweet potato pie.
4) If all else fails, focus on the kids. I love how needy little ones are and will confess to being “occupied” with the kids whenever something got a little heated among family members. Out of sight and you’ll dodge any big issues.
BMWK family, what tips do you have for having a very merry Christmas with the in-laws?
Tara Pringle Jefferson is a freelance writer and blogger living in Ohio with her husband and two children. Visit her blog (she promises you’ll like it) to read more of her observations about life, motherhood and love, follow her on Twitter at @TheYoungMommy or join her community of young mothers over on Facebook.