The holidays can be a really awesome time to catch up with your family that you don’t normally see that often, but it can also be stressful. Mix in a significant other’s family or divorced parents and you’ve got yourself a lot of holiday gatherings to attend. But whether you’re hosting your family and your in-laws or heading to someone else’s place, we’ve got some tips to help keep you calm and come out of the holiday season completely sane (or as sane as you can be).
Just accept that unwarranted advice
Hosting Christmas? You go, girl! Hosting Christmas for your in-laws? You deserve a freaking medal. Sometimes cooking, cleaning and general living advice is a little unsolicited (“Well, I cook my turkey like this”), but keep in mind, more often than not, this advice does come from a good place. If your mother-in-law (or even your own mom) thinks you should do things a certain way, smile and thank them and say you’ll make sure to try it next time. Who knows? Maybe they really do have the secret to perfect mashed potatoes and you were doing it wrong this whole time.
Lie about what time everyone should be over
This is absolutely key if you’re hosting dinner and you have some perpetual latecomers or some family members who insist on coming three hours early to sit and critique how you mash your potatoes. Give yourself a buffer of about an hour, either earlier or later than you need, so your guests arrive right when they should—as you’re pulling out that perfectly roasted bird and plopping it on your Pinterest-inspired table dé©cor (and not while you still have your hair in a bun and are still sweaty from putting the turkey in the oven to begin with).
Have a drink and relax
Okay, we’re not recommending you go and get smashed at your family or SO’s family’s get-together—unless that’s their jam, in which case, join them—but if you’re not needed in the kitchen, grab a glass of wine and relax. You can only benefit from de-stressing a little bit, unless, of course, you’re an aggressive lightweight who might flip on your MIL after one glass of pinot, then you might just want to stick to water.
Remember that they’re still family
You can’t choose your family, but you can choose the person you spend your life with. If your guy’s family is especially annoying (it happens), take a real long look at whether you can handle it for the rest of your life. Seriously. Can you see yourself bringing your kids to your in-laws’ place 20 years from now and still being able to grin and bear it? No? Well then you might need to reconsider your relationship. But, if you can look past their quirks (heck, your guy probably puts up with your fam in a way too), then keep that in mind every time you hear a snarky remark from the other woman in your guy’s life.
Work in some alone time
The last thing you want is to spend the holidays arguing with your boyfriend because your respective families stressed you out. You have to show a united front or they’ll take you down! Totally kidding, but you’ll be able to handle all four Christmas dinners much better if you make sure to take some time for just the two of you—whether it’s going for a snowy stroll in between dinner and dessert or sneaking a kiss or two under the mistletoe.