You Need to Read This Before You See Your Family

It's only been a few weeks. You made it through Thanksgiving, but now it's time to get together with your family AGAIN! Read this first...

It’s only been a few weeks. You made it through Thanksgiving, but now it’s time to get together with your family AGAIN! The memories are all too real. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents . . . old and young sniveling and whining, pontificating and preaching. Aaagh!

You know what I’m talking about. You have them. Every family does. The:

Political Corrector


The Annoying . . . Practically Perfect

That’s just the adults.

Add the children and you get—the:

Out 0f Control
Tantrum Thrower

It’s almost enough to make you want to avoid the festivities altogether.

And if you’re honest, you look in the mirror and know they have a label for you and most likely a few more for your spouse and children.

Still you’ll gather this weekend because . . . well, they’re your family.

Like it or not, they’re the ones God gave you. Given to bless you and to challenge you. Given to help you grow and to bless you.

Here’s help:

It's only been a few weeks. You made it through Thanksgiving, but now it's time to get together with your family AGAIN! Read this first...

12 Dos and Don’ts for Holiday
Gatherings with Your Family

1. Don’t rehash the unpleasant past. If it’s not a happy memory for everyone involved. Leave it in the past. No one knows our hot buttons like family. Avoiding them is one of the best gifts we can give each other.

2. Don’t expect anyone to change. If the annoyer is on their best behavior you can be pleasantly surprised, but don’t set yourself up to be disappointed.

3. Don’t ask personal questions.

When are?
Why don’t?
Are you ever?

You don’t want to be asked when you’re going to get married, have a baby, get a job, etc. And guess what? No one else likes it either.

4. You don’t have to answer personal questions either. It’s perfectly okay to say, “Hmm, I don’t think I have an answer for that one right now.” Then move on. 

5. Don’t correct anyone other than your own children. You’re not going to change anyone’s mind or behavior long-term anyway; so, take the high road and bite your tongue for the sake of the day. If you get really frustrated . . . go in the bathroom and do a silent scream. 

6. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Jealousy and comparisons cause lots of family conflicts. This is the perfect time to just choose to love. You don’t know the whole story and everyone’s story has both good and bad. Comparing will only make you sad and hurt your relationships.

7. Listen more than you talk. It’s okay not to share your opinion about everything, and if the conversation is getting on your nerves . . . offer to help in the kitchen it’s always appreciated.

8. Remember—you don’t know everything… Your family member may be going through a very difficult time and doing the very best they can. Family time is the perfect time to practice extending grace.

9. Be prepared with fun conversation starters. Take a stack of fun questions to keep the conversation light or to redeem it if it goes sideways. You can find some examples here and here.

10. Pray before you go and while you’re there. Ask for patience, kindness, and compassion for each difficult person by name. Ask God to help you forgive the past. Ask Him to bless your time together and make it a time of joy.

11. Check your attitude before you leave the house. It’s easy to go into the present dressed in the past. Don’t! Go into the day determined to give everyone a fresh start and make it the best day possible.

12. Plan on giving more than you get. I don’t mean gifts. Give more kindness, encouragement, praise, compliments, etc. If you go with that attitude determined to avoid comparisons you will have a good day. I promise.

 Quotes to Inspire You

The same Jesus Who turned water into wine can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future. He is still in the miracle-working business, and His business is the business of transformation. ~Adrian Rogers, Pastor

Quotes to Make You Smile

It's only been a few weeks. You made it through Thanksgiving, but now it's time to get together with your family AGAIN! Read this first..

“The great advantage of living in a large family is that early lesson of life’s essential unfairness.” ~Nancy Mitford

“Family is a blessing. – Just keep saying that when you are irritated by something a family member says.” ~Marcelina Hardy

“Family is just accident…. They don’t mean to get on your nerves. They don’t even mean to be your family, they just are.” ~Marsha Norman

“For the first time ever I was taking the family on the road. We stayed with my in-laws, which on life’s list of experiences ranks right below sitting in a tub full of scissors.” ~Jeff Foxworthy

“Family love is messy, clinging, and of an annoying and repetitive pattern… like bad wallpaper.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

So pocket your favorite family memory. Carry a quote or question remembering to avoid the usual hot buttons. You know what they are…

Just hold them close. even those annoying ones. And cover them with an extra measure of grace and love.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34–35

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About Deb

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21 thoughts on “You Need to Read This Before You See Your Family

  1. What great advice! Holidays are made stressful by strained relationships. Spending time with folks you share a past with, but not the present, compounds the issues. As a middle born child, I’ve always been the “peacemaker” of our family, and I do what I can to diffuse and avoid conflicts. But I admit, I do have to remind myself that God placed these precious people in my life and sometimes it’s just a matter of “dying” to myself and allowing His light–and love–to shine through me.

  2. Thanks for sharing these “Do’s and Don’ts” and words of encouragement. There has been so much change in our family dynamics over past year – two very close family members passed away. Then, my mother has required full-time care, due to her progressive dementia. I have two siblings who have caused so much friction in our family that we may not even all gather for Christmas this year….I pray that doesn’t happen. It saddens me that hard feelings and forgiveness can turn a family upside down. Please keep me and my family in your prayers!! Only God can heal!!!
    Ann recently posted..Advent(Dec. 21): Thunder in the DesertMy Profile

  3. This is exactly what I needed tonight! You have NO IDEA how difficult my hubby’s side of the family is – something that I’m totally not used to since we married 4 yrs ago. Anyway, these tips are fabulous and practical! I think I’ve had a bad attitude about having to interact with them over the holidays and that’s killed my joy in that area. Thank you so much for these tips from obvious experience! Merry Christmas!

  4. We get to be surrounded by family for one whole week, packed into a house. This was such a good read and I will refer to it often. I am so blessed to have a family that is willing to travel during the holidays to be together!

  5. I love the dysfunctional family quote!! I have 5 younger siblings and every Christmas we have a kid in each of those categories and it’s insane! I’m surprised someone isn’t in an institute because of our family holidays. Haha!

  6. Good advice! “Don’t expect anyone to change.” They might…maybe…but if you don’t have that as an expectation it really helps. Both my husband & I come from large families 7 we have 7 children & family get togethers can be messy at times but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Have a great Christmas.

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