About the Episode:
Everybody knows that the Holidays can be extremely stressful. Whether it’s from fear of giving a bad gift, spending excessive time with certain family members, or having to travel, there is a solution that may work. That is setting boundaries before an event, and being on the same page for expectations of the entire family.
Listen to the podcast here:
Watch the episode here:
- Spending time with your Family
- Make a plan for your Family (Make boundary plans with your Family)
- Hosting on your own Terms.
- The Advantages of being the Host in Holidays.
- Manage your own expectations
- Don’t react, Observe
- At a minimum, listen to what your family says
What shakin’… It’s good to have you, cuz today we’re going all in, talking about difficult family at the holidays, at Christmas, I did one of these similar to this, uh, two years ago, and it was regarding this, but that was in the middle of the pandemic and how to deal with like differing opinions. Cause that was a big thing, uh, about a year ago, right? And different things about vaccines and all that stuff. I’m not talking about that today because we’re gonna talk about just general holidays today, right? Christmas is coming up and thanks God there’s really no pandemic anymore. I mean, hell, if Biden said that this is a joke, right? If Biden said it’s over, then it’s over. That’s pretty funny to me. But I’m, I’m making myself laugh with that one <laugh>. But today I’m gonna talk about ways, like very real ways, very applicable ways that you can go into this year when you think you have difficult family members to deal with.
You know this is one of the biggest things that can like, make or break your holidays. Typically, you know, for people that think that they have troubles with this because family is like everything and, and family’s such a powerful force in life that it can even create senses of obligation and all these other emotions that go around spending time with, with people in your close family at Christmas. You know, I’ve even heard these phrases before, you might have too. It’s like, it’s not Christmas until we’ve had an argument with mom. It’s not Christmas until we’ve had an argument with Joe, my brother. You know, it’s not Christmas until, uh, my kids are puking all over the place or whatever, right? So it’s like the, there’s, there can be this expectation of struggle over the course of the holidays and I want to give you some very real ways today to actually get through this time period in a way that’s way better than what you ever had before.
If you are in this scenario, right? Or even if you’re in any scenario because a conflict happens within families, it’s just inevitable, right? I, I had this conversation with someone the other day. It’s like the people that we love are the people that we end up being the meanest to, right? So it’s <laugh>, it’s kind of a joke. It’s like, well if I’m this mean you, I, I must love you a lot, but here are some real ways, right? I started talking about the expectations, the negative expectations. The first way that you can change things up for this year and how deal with difficult family members is to manage your own expectations. Because if you know that this person in your family, whatever relative it is, is going to have an issue with whatever’s going on, manage your own expectations, right? Rather than stressing out about it and knowing that that’s gonna happen.
Just know that that’s going to happen. And then start to mentally prepare yourself for how you’re going to deal with that ahead of time, right? Because truthfully, I’m gonna get very real and very direct. How does it really affect you except for that day, right? And, maybe it’s time to like change plans up or something like that, I don’t know. But managing your expectations is the best way to go about doing something like this, right? So instead of reacting to other people, here’s one way to do it. Try to observe your other family members because a lot of times if they’re steering up stuff and they’ve got strong opinions on things, it could be because there’s something that’s going on in their lives, or maybe it’s unresolved trauma that they had from 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago. And when you start to look at things that way, you can actually have more compassion when you observe how they interact.
Because people will give you clues as to what they’re looking for in their life and how they really want to interact. So if somebody’s challenging you on something with a strong opinion, whatever it is, just observe them. Maybe observe how they’re acting instead of reacting to them and then just listening. That’s it. You don’t necessarily have to respond. So manage your expectations. The second way I’m gonna give you is is make a plan. Make a solid plan for this. You could have family members that are coming over to your house. You could have family members that might even be staying at your house for a couple of days. This is pretty common over Christmas. It’s very common over Christmas. But one of the beautiful things about that is that you can make a plan. And this has to do with setting some boundaries too, because if they’re coming to your house, let’s say for a whole week or something like that, right over Christmas, maybe even extending longer than a week and staying through New Year’s because you are the one that could be hosting and they’re staying at your place.
Or maybe this could be even in reverse that you’re staying at their place for that long, right? If it’s parents, if it’s siblings, whatever it is, start making plans now. And these plans are really boundary related because you could have other things to do. There is nothing for you to feel obligated about spending every waking moment with your family, whether they’re staying by you, whether you’re staying by them. This also has to do with like timeframes cuz maybe you’re not staying there, right? But maybe you’re going over there for a dinner or something like that. You can easily say, Hey, you know what? I can be there for two hours and there’s no obligation to tell ’em why you have to leave in two hours. If they ask, you know, oh well what’s going on? We’d love you to stay for this. They’re like, I’m sorry, I just can’t today.
There are some other things that I want to do that day. Some other people I want to see, which could be real or you could even want to go out, right? It doesn’t matter because these are ways to make solid plans around the boundaries about how much time you’re actually spending with these individuals. Cuz deep down inside, I know that for most of you listening, you really, really love the family members that drive you nuts. Okay, <laugh>, I, I, I know it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t go over there. I mean, you grew up with these people. I it’s, there’s this bond that really is hard to break. You want to be with them even no, even though you might feel obligated in some way, you still in some deep down way, even if it’s a little bit actually want to be with them to make a plan, make a plan to put boundaries around what’s going on.
If you have a family and you have kids of your own and you have parents or siblings staying with you, just say, Hey, you know what, these days we’re, we’re just spending time as a family. You can stay at the house, whatever, but we’re going out, we’re gonna go out to dinner here. We’re gonna see Christmas lights this year just as a family because you can maintain your own immediate family traditions even in the midst of being with other family members for an extended period of time. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it? I think so another way, which I kind of alluded to a little bit in this last one is actually hosting yourself, hosting everything on, uh, on your own house, your own condo, whatever. And I was about to say, hosting it on your own terms. That’s really what this does for you.
And this is something that I’ve been practicing every year because it gives you a little more control over what’s going on. Mine doesn’t have to do with rough family members at all. I love spending time with my family, but hosting gives me the opportunity to have the food that I like. <laugh>, it gives me the opportunity to structure the day, the day that I, the way that I want. It gives me the opportunity to, too, which is something I really, really love to do. This is really the root of it I love to provide a good time for everybody else. That’s something that really, really fulfills me. So if I can host, that means that I’m able to fulfill an awesome day for a bunch of other people and I love doing that. But if it’s difficult, family members, which is what we’re really talking about today, this is a way to kind of control what’s going on and it’s on your own terms because you’re the one that’s hosting, which means you can also set the start time and you can set the end time.
And I’m going to encourage you to make that end time. Don’t just tell your family, Hey, come over at one o’clock. Hey, come over at four o’clock. Hey, come over at six o’clock. Be like, Hey, we’re hosting. Come over between one and three. Come over today between five and nine cuz we’re gonna have dinner, we’re gonna open gifts. You know what? That’s it. And then we’ve gotta go to bed or whatever. You don’t even have to give a reason, but have that end time that you communicate clearly with your family when you’re hosting yourself. It’s such an amazing way, to do those things and, and have some sort of control and create those boundaries so you can actually sort of push, the interactions in a way that you want to. And as far as the interactions go, I talked about this a little bit in previous episodes too, when it comes to conflict because conflict can come up of course, right?
And these interactions, right? Of course, if you have a limited period of time, if you’re setting that start and end time, it kind of minimizes the opportunity for those conflicts to come up. I mean, if you’re spending nine hours with each other on any given day because there’s no opportunity for an enzyme whatsoever, then there’s a lot more time for the possibility for these conflicts to come up. So one of the ways to actually minimize those types of things is to have those starting end times. But when they do occur, because we’re talking about difficult family member moments here over Christmas, right? When they do occur, ask a lot of questions instead of reacting, this comes back to the first part of what we talked about today. Instead of reacting, ask a lot of questions just to try to understand their perspective. You don’t ha it, it’s, it’ll take some practice.
And this is really shifting your mindset on this, right? Especially if you have an ongoing conflict that’s happening right now. You could be in that shoot in those shoes where you are dreading Christmas with family because of a conflict that’s existing right this moment. You can try to address that beforehand and resolve it, which is a good way to go. Or if that’s not a possibility for you right now and you’re still gonna spend Christmas with those people, that’s something to be commended in and of itself. And that is actually a good way to even frame things up when you arrive or when they arrive by you. It’s to say, Hey, you know what? I know these past couple of weeks, and these past couple of months have been rough for us. We haven’t agreed on a lot or we haven’t agreed on this. I know we’ve been struggling to find some common ground on, on this topic.
I just wanna let you know that in spite of all that, I’m still here today and I’m still happy that you are here today. So how about we have a good holiday together? Isn’t that amazing that I mean, just being able to, it’s not even like putting conflict aside, but it could actually even open up an opportunity for a bridge to resolve whatever that conflict has been the past couple of weeks? And then you are, you’re already pre-framing the time right when you arrive. This is gonna take some, some guts on your parts because I, you can’t expect your family member to do this, but this is for you to go in and reframe the day that it’s going to be a good day with that difficult family member by just acknowledging the difficulty that you had already because of a situation going on and then saying, you know what? That all doesn’t matter right now because I’m happy to be here with you today and I want to have an awesome day with you. That’s powerful. That’s incredible. These are some real ways for you to be able to have an amazing holiday this year, an amazing Christmas and an amazing New Year’s with difficult family members, and possibly even a way to resolve the conflict that got you to that point, to begin with. So Merry Christmas.
Go ALL IN.