Surviving Difficult Family at Christmas

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It’s that time of year again.

The time when your family gets together to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior…and to discuss your cousin’s divorce…and listen to your uncle go on and on about politics (which he clearly knows nothing about)…and for Grandparents to make comments about how your weight has fluctuated.

Ahhh, the holidays. Family is, of course, a true blessing, so in no way am I saying that avoiding your family is an option. However, spending extended time with extended family can cause extended migraines.

So, here are a few life hacks to help you survive your more difficult family members at Christmas…

Survive Difficult Family with a Politics Jar

I saw this idea on Pinterest and it’s basically a “swear jar” (maybe you need one of those too?). Simply place the Politics Jar on the table and inform everyone (or make a print out and hang it everywhere) of the charges for talking politics.

If you bring up politics, it’s $1 to the jar. The second offense can be more or you can get creative with it. How about $5 for every time you insult someone else for a political position you don’t hold (like a backhanded comment or jab) and $10 for bringing up something that can be easily fact-checked and isn’t true?

I think everyone will enjoy the holiday season a lot more without having to convince your parents at dinner why you voted the way you did and therefore don’t love Jesus anymore.

Survive Difficult Family with a One Conversation Rule

I heard this one on Michael Hyatt’s podcast and I think he heard it somewhere else. The basic idea is that while at dinner, everyone must be involved in the same conversation. No side conversations are allowed in addition to the main conversation.

As the host, you may have to plan a bit for this one so that there is a clear “moderator” at the table who has come prepared with topics.

You could even let people know in advance and have them write topic suggestions on a slip of paper to put in a jar and randomly draw from the jar throughout dinner. That way, everyone is contributing to the same conversation and the more negative things can be cut off before they start.

Survive Difficult Family with a Bubble Bath

I asked my wife for suggestions on this topic and this is what she gave me. So, there you go.

Survive Difficult Family by Giving Everyone a TV Veto

You’ve all got that one relative that walks into anyone’s house, sits in the best chair, confiscates the remote, and proceed to sit there like the Emperor, just daring you to take the Lightsaber…er, remote. They can feeeeel your angerrrrr….

Giving everyone a veto neutralizes this weilder of the dark side and allows the family an opportunity to watch something besides football…or home movies of Christmas 25 years ago when you played the saxophone and dressed like a dork.

Survive Difficult Family by Delegating Food Prep

There’s no reason you should make the whole meal yourself, especially if you’re already allowing everyone to come destroy your house for a day with no intention of helping you clean it back up.

If you have a picky eater, make them bring their own courses that work with whatever weird diet they’re on that week or if you have a vegan in the family, tell them to bring some non-meat thing. The Bible says if you don’t work, you don’t eat, so Imma leave that right there.

Survive Difficult Family by Remembering Jesus

At the end of the day, these people are your family. God has placed you in the family you’re in for a reason and we can all strive to be more gracious, patient, and kind.

Jesus has a lot of folks in his family who don’t always call, they are sometimes disrespectful, and often blame him for their problems, but he loves them anyway. So, this Christmas, let’s enjoy our holiday, eat way too much food, and remember to help out those who can’t eat way too much food.

And let’s not elbow any more people out of our way while we’re shopping.

Last week, we reached (and already went way past) 100 email subscribers! So, to celebrate, I allowed my list to vote on how I should celebrate publically. They chose “30-second video of me dancing.” So, merry Christmas…

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