The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year. Everyone gathered around the Christmas tree smiling and singing carols…yea right. For many of us those types of scenes only happen in the movies. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the holidays are all bad, but there’s a reason why you probably avoid certain relatives and maybe even your spouse or partner during this time of year.
But don’t fret; below we break down how to deal with the most common holiday relationship issues so you can keep your sanity. Here we go…
The Problem: Both families want to see you at the same time.
It never fails, your family’s holiday service just so happens to be at the same time as your in-laws holiday dinner. It’s a scheduling nightmare. Since human cloning hasn’t quite happened, what’s a person to do?
The answer - negotiate. Don’t avoid the problem by trying to shuck and jive. Be forthright and tell your family about the scheduling conundrum. Take control and establish a schedule by agreeing to spend Christmas Eve at one place and Christmas day another. This schedule makes it clear to everyone involved and lets all parties know what the expectation is, which is a great way to avoid miscommunication and hurt feelings.
The Problem: Rude family members
Every family member has at least one. The rude uncle who rants on and on about the government or the snippy mother in-law who slams your parenting in the most passive aggressive way possible.
If one of his relatives is bashing you then he needs to firmly confront that person because it’s his family. The best course of action is not to grit your teeth and bear it, but to gently pull that person aside and tell him or her that the comments and insults directed at your partner are hurtful. By doing this, you make it clear that the comments are an issue, and avoid embarrassment on both sides.
The Problem: Gift exchange gone awry
His family likes to go all out with lavish gifts and you show up with stocking stuffers. Talk about embarrassment. Don’t rely on your man to tell you these sorts of details. Heck, he probably doesn’t even remember his mom’s birthday. Instead, inquire about what his family does in terms of gift giving. Ask what gifts were given by each member and to each member last year. The worst thing you can do is show up with your stocking stuffer amidst a sea of iPads and diamond rings or vice versa.
The Problem: You’re a vegan and his mom spent all day cooking up a mean prime rib
It’s the responsibility of the person related to the hosts to pass along information about special dietary needs. If that doesn’t happen in time, you should just keep it to yourself and be a good guest. You might be lucky and have a buffet style set-up allowing you to avoid foods without offending. If not, eat what you can and smile. If his family insists of drinking boxed wine and 40-ouncers, bring a few bottles of your favourite wine and you’ll look like a hero.