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Avoid-Family-DramaHow to avoid any family drama during holiday time.

When the holidays roll around, families gather together to eat, drink and share their lives. Sometimes people bring other things to the holiday dinner table though, like resentment, bitterness or other symptoms from lingering, interpersonal issues.  This year consider making the holiday a time to do what you can on your part to aid and abet healing and peace!

Giving Thanks, Peace on Earth and New Beginnings

No holiday is safe from two people with a mutual grudge and many a holiday party has been ruined by a couple of sour lemons. Conflicts come up for their own reasons but nobody wants to deal with petty stuff at Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter.  Yet left to fester, these tiffs can become a pain in the you know what for anyone within earshot!

Christmas is about giving to others, showing generosity and love through action and items. It is important to keep the spirit of this holiday in mind as with any other family holiday. Bitter rivalries have no place at the Christmas dinner table and there are ways to keep a holiday dinner party civil even with less than civil guests. Remind brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and parents about how much they've given each other over the years. They may be surprised by what they've forgotten with the passage of time.

Learn to Model Open Mindedness and Kindness

Thanksgiving is about being thankful for one's fortunes. We all take advantage of the good things we have and even worse, some people take advantage of each other, even among family lines. This is the time of year to remind everyone to be happy for what they've got instead of miserable with desire for what they lack. H. U. Westermayer said of the first American Thanksgiving, "The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more improverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving". A statement with more impact perhaps does not exist. Every day alive is another thing to be thankful for, and the shortness of life should be enough to quash any bad blood between family members.

Share the Burden of Preparation to Ease Stress for the Host

Another thing to consider is how these holiday celebrations are actually set up. Does someone end up with too much work, or little gratitude for the work they have done to make the holiday gathering a success? These things take a lot of work to arrange and cook for, not to mention the costs associated with feeding a large family. Disfunctional behaviors that could ruin a holiday gathering can begin at the gathering location, with people who live with and see each other every day. Nobody likes to feel belittled or underappreciated and breaking someone down like this during the holidays is just wicked. Find good things to say and keep venom out of any criticisms that come up during the holidays.

Do Something Productive to Bring People Together at Holiday Events

Lastly, one phenom which is understandable, normal, but still is not good; when large clans or families gather together for holidays or other events, they sometimes tend to break off into small segments and not mix much. This intermittent codependency on one another in smaller, segregated groups can keep a family from really feeling together during the holidays. These invisible barriers must be broken for a family to truly be a family; for the kind of togetherness, love and comfort suggested by a family setting is impossible unless all members can have faith in the civility of the ocassion.   Knowing where and what one comes from is helpful in learning more about the self as well.  Planning a little bit of a program (music, reading, plays, games, movie) or some event around the skills and gifts of the children or young people who are present is a productive way to break the ice and handle this.

Joy of Sharing

There are many healthy benefits to big, family gatherings during the holidays. Old friends and relatives can meet once more, people talk, eat and relax. It is good to be among familiar folks and there are none more familiar than family. At least, that's how things ought to be. Make a real, concerted effort to learn more about loved ones and how they interact with each other and if all else fails, make it clear that nobody harboring a grudge will be allowed to attend the next holiday gathering. It may sound cold but it's quite effective.

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