It’s the most wonderful time of the year and that means visiting family and extended family. If you’ve moved away from your family, whether 30 mins or 30 hours away you may be looking forward to visiting and catching up with everyone. You may also only be looking forward to maybe seeing your favorite cousin, hanging out with your old neighborhood friends or tasting your grandmother’s delicious desserts. For some, the holidays are not usually a joyous occasion and this is my take on how you should handle the stress, the snide comments and enjoy your Ho, Ho, Holiday!
As you’re packing, boarding the plane, train or driving, start mentally preparing yourself for the family members that ALWAYS have something shady to say. You know the one aunt who hugs you and then takes a dig at your weight, hair choice, or even your life choices. You don’t have to be unreasonably rude but you can firmly state that your life decisions don’t have to be approved by the family before making them. You aren’t there for the bullshit so say your one liner, smile and move past her! It’s Christmas and either she can respect you or simply stop talking to you (you want her to stop talking to you ).
So you’ve recently had a child and most of your family hasn’t been around you and all your glory of motherhood/fatherhood. Naturally, they’ll all want to cuddle, kiss, and feed your child. You may have your own way of doing things and your family may not understand so this may cause tension. It’s OK to tell your family that you don’t feed your child certain things. It’s OK to tell your family that you don’t want them kissing your child. They mean well but you’re concerned about the health of your baby not their feelings. You can express this nicely but expect some attitudes from some people. Honestly they’ve raised kids so they think they know it all. That’s normal but remember that you’re a parent now too and you and your partner know what’s best for your little one. If they won’t stop pestering you start asking questions about their kids.
You’ve decided to take your new boo home with you for the holidays. This can go really well because you’re so sure everyone will love him/her as much as you do. This bold move could also not go over well with some members of your family who may use this moment to be super shady. Unfortunately some members of your family are judgmental whether it’s over race, sex or age. Be prepared for those family members who always ask tons of questions. You don’t have to answer and God forbid they try to make you guys have the marriage talk. With that thought in mind don’t take someone home you aren’t serious about. You may have to really defend your relationship and it may be VERY awkward if you aren’t even sure if they are planning to stick around at least until next Christmas.
Perhaps you haven’t graduated college yet because you’ve changed your major again. Perhaps you don’t have children yet because you are focusing on your career. Perhaps you didn’t bring a date this Christmas or the one before because you are enjoying the single life. Some members of your family may be really opinionated about your choices. You don’t have to explain anything to anyone about your life BUT just know that the opinions will come. I want to believe that families are so opinionated because they love you and want the best for you. But when they are bombarding you with questions, pointing out your age, reminding you of who’s having kids and getting married and you’re not…it doesn’t feel much like love or like for that matter. Try to keep your cool and remind them of all the AWESOME things you are doing with your life. Don’t feel pressured to make major life decisions over Christmas break.
The holidays are wonderful but can be stressful with family. If you’re going home for the holidays or are already there, stick to the more positive family members. It’s perfectly fine to only associate and hang out with the people who genuinely have an interest in your life and they support your choices without all the extra shade. As you’re sitting down for dinner have your favorite bottle of wine close by and take a seat in between your two favorite relatives. Make the holiday as joyous and as stress free as you can for yourself. Remember, when Christmas is over, you will hug everyone goodbye (maybe) and go on with your life as planned until the next family event. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!