The holiday season is heading into full swing! Everyone is getting ready for the “most important meal of the year,” also known as Thanksgiving.
So, how do you keep the peace with so much activity and so many adults and kids gathered together? Here are a few tips:
• Keep the “adult stuff” separate from the kids. Kids love to see their grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. Let them relish those relationships. If there are family members you don’t enjoy as much as others, make a resolution to keep those feelings to yourself for the holiday. That means watching your words, voice tone, and body language. Avoid sarcasm and eye-rolling.
• Make sure to include, early in the day, an opportunity for sharing what you all are thankful for, and for prayer in your family’s religious tradition. If you’re expressing gratitude and praying together, it’s much harder for anyone to wear grouchy pants.
• If there are discussion topics among family members that tend to end in hurt feelings — you’re a Cubs fan and your brother cheered for the Indians, or you and your mother-in-law belong to different political parties — respectfully request ahead of time that those topics be off the table for the day. Then calmly relocate yourself if other adults start those discussions.
• Use humor. A friend of ours said when he was growing up, if people felt someone else’s comments at the dinner table were likely to start arguments, they’d throw their napkins in the air to declare a truce! It made the point, and kept everyone laughing, too.
• Even though it’s a busy time, watch your schedule and take care of yourself. When you’re well-rested — and you haven’t overindulged in food and alcohol — it’s easier to keep your patience and sense of humor.
We want our kids to experience Thanksgiving as a time of joy, family, friendship and gratitude for the blessings we’ve been given. If you start the holiday season with a happy Thanksgiving, you’re well on the way to a lifetime of happy memories for everyone — and that’s really something to be thankful for.
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