Just when you thought you’d finally fully recovered from Thanksgiving, the holidays are here. And with the holidays comes family visits and/or company holiday parties. While many of us look forward to these times of celebration with merriment and glee, there are still many more that look at these with anxiety and dread. Whether it’s awkwardness with the in-laws, a grudge with a sibling, or tension with a co-worker, what should be feelings of excitement and anticipation of the Christmas season seems to be quelled by situations such as these. That doesn’t sound like a fun winter break now does it?
I am fortunate to have a great relationship with my in-laws, be real close with my brothers and already survived my staff holiday party and had a blast doing so because I enjoy the people I work with. But it doesn’t mean I have not heard from other people their feelings of despair and nervousness for the visits to come in their lives. Allow me to share some advice I had for them.
Drop the dread. Ever walked into a room or stumbled across a couple people who weren’t talking at the moment and you could feel the tension between them? Well more times then not, people will get the same feeling from you when you’re holding onto anxiety about seeing them or an underlying anger about an old issue that may not have been resolved the way you wanted. When they sense that, their defenses go up and their mental troops start preparing for verbal battle. Is that how you want it to go? To help combat your feelings of anxiety over this, contact the person beforehand and tell them you’re excited to see them (even if you’re not) and share a memory of a good time you had together or a positive story you heard that made you think of them. The outcome might just be that you disarmed a potential bomb on the holiday for the both of you and set a new precedent and expectation of happiness for your visit instead.
Buzzwords for your buddy system. My supreme teammate, my wife, and I work together when heading into what we know could be emotionally dangerous situations. We create a buzzword or signal to give each other to say “Help! Get me out of this situation/conversation!” and we can then rescue one another with an excuse. Set something like this up with your significant other or friend or family member to help you the same way. Going to an event on your own? You can use the age old blind date trick of having a friend call at a specific time with an “emergency” so you can leave if need be or simply ignore the call if you’re having a good time.
Take a moment with john. Whether it’s a company party or a family get together, I’m pretty sure anywhere you go is going to have a restroom and even if you have to use a stall, you can find some privacy and time to yourself there. If you’re finding yourself starting to get a bit tensed, frustrated or flustered simply excuse yourself and take a breather in the bathroom to get re-centered. Just check your shoes on your way out to make sure you don’t have any toilet paper trailing you out, the embarrassment from that could be worse than the reason you went in there to begin with!
Treats are neat. If you’re hosting or going to someone else’s home, party favors are always a hit. Who doesn’t like a gift or prize?! You just might be the star of the party by having a little give-away such as ornament or little bag of candy. Yes it’ll cost you a little money up front, but the more people you have on your side because they appreciate a gesture, how bad can that party really get?
Avoid the obvious. I’ve been told a time or twenty by my wife to ease up on the competitive nature. If you have family members or friends that get overly competitive, then you might just want to skip the games to avoid any arguments or fights. Sore conversation topics should be avoided as much as possible as well such as breakups, job loss and of course, politics. Anything that is going to get people heated up and possibly cause drama is best not to be had at a party.
Take things outside. No, I’m not encouraging you to go outside and fight, per say. However you can cool off outside with a brisk walk, some Christmas caroling or some fun in the snow such as snowball fights, building a snowman or making snow angels. Things get too heated inside? Head right out the door.
Holidays can be stressful times, we all get that. But it doesn’t mean that they should be. We should be able to focus on what the holidays really stand for and represent. I hope that just maybe a few of these tips will help you and yours have a better season this year.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Got any holiday survival tips of your own? Like what you’ve read? Please feel free to comment or fill out the contact form below and tell me your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you! And please feel free to share this page with others!