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How to Deal with Family Conflict During the Holidays

What is it about the holidays that brings conflict to a family? Who else wants to know how to deal with family conflict during the holidays?

Relationship experts say it is the close quarters and heightened stress that makes this time of year a veritable breeding ground for yelling and hurt feelings. It has become almost expected for families to fight during their holiday meals, and has become so mainstream that holiday family conflicts are the subject of countless movies. If you’re not interested in the drama that has become expected during what is supposed to be season of cheer, peace, and love, take a look at these five tips for dealing with family conflicts.

1)      Don’t overdo it. Though we typically attribute tantrums to our young children, too many activities, in too many places can lead to grumpiness and even outright anger even in the most mature among your brood. Instead of trying to do everything, pick a few fun activities and make sure there is plenty of time for your relatives to decompress and just spend time together. Instead of dragging everyone to the mall to shop for gifts, put the kinds and grandparents in front of a movie and take those who volunteer to get some shopping done.

2)      Be prepared. If you already know that two feuding family members are going to come into contact, have a contingency plan. Whether you don’t allow them to stay in your house or separate them during meals, make sure they don’t have an opportunity to get into it.

3)      You don’t have to get into the middle of it. Sometimes it’s enough to send the fighters out of the room and let them have it out, away from the kids, away from interrupting spouses, parents, and siblings. The influences of all the voices around them can escalate a small disagreement into a major problem in no time at all. Especially if the conflict has nothing to do with you, the best thing to do is send them away from the table until they can be cordial to one another.

4)      Be the peacemaker. If neither separation or sequester work, it may be time for you to step in. Especially if they are making the celebrations uncomfortable for everyone in the house, you can ask them to please act like adults, at least while the kids are watching.

5)      Realize that the holidays are not the time to hash everything out. Holidays are supposed to be fun. They are supposed to be a time of coming together and nostalgia. They should not be the time that the siblings fight about who got what portion of your grandmother’s estate, or who mother loved best, or who stole whose boyfriend in high school. Sometimes family members need to be reminded that your house, during the holiday season is not the place to dredge up old wounds. Especially if you are hosting them in your home, you can tell your family members that they can do this on their own time, on their own turf.

5 Ways to Survive the End Of The Year Shopping Season!

Outside of cooking that massive family meal, getting all of your end of the year shopping done can be the most stressful aspect of the holidays.

No matter how early you start, it seems like you always come down to the wire, standing in outrageous lines, with arms full of toys you know your own children, nieces, and nephews do not want.

If you take these five  end of the year shopping tips for the next holiday season, it won’t be this way. You can get in, get out, and get done so you have more time to spend with your family and friends.

 1)   Make a plan of attack. Write a comprehensive list of everyone you want to buy presents for and then make sure you know what you want to get them before you start out. If you’re not sure what to get your relatives, ask around, see if there’s anything they’ve been hinting about. Decide what you’re going to buy for each person before you go to the mall. It doesn’t have to be specific brand and model, but if you know your six-year-old niece has been asking for a Barbie, you can spend your time picking from the many doll varieties, instead of wandering the whole toy section for hours, trying to find something she’d like.

2)   Map it out. In conjunction with your itemized list, make a list of all the stores you need to hit and plan an advantageous route. It is discouraging to be almost done with your list and realize you have to drive all the way back into town just to hit Macy’s, especially when you were in Target, just a block away, earlier that day.

3)   Divide and conquer. Especially when you’re shopping for your relatives, bring along your family and when you arrive at the mall, give them all assignments. By making it a game—who ever finishes first, wins!—you can get your kids excited about picking out presents for their cousins and friends.

4)   Buy family gifts. Money is often a huge roadblock when it comes to finding quality presents for your relatives. Instead of trying to find something for every individual aunt, uncle, sister, brother, niece, and nephew, invest in one fun family gift. These can be board games, movies, kitchen gadgets—anything that can be used by the entire family.

5)   Shop late. Most people would tell you to shop early, and that’s fine; you’ll have your shopping all done, giving yourself plenty of time to wrap presents and figure out if you’ve missed anyone. But you can find shorter lines and lower prices closer to the holidays than you can if you start your shopping the week after Thanksgiving. If you’re looking to save money and you know you have a complete list, you can wait a little be longer and use your family to get it done faster and for less money.