About the Episode:
I know this can be a challenging time, filled with mixed emotions and potential conflicts. We’ve all heard phrases like, “It’s not Christmas until we’ve had an argument.” This year, I want to change that narrative. I discuss practical strategies to manage your expectations, set boundaries, and create a positive environment, even in the midst of family tension. From hosting on your terms to understanding and addressing conflicts, I share insights on how to transform your holiday experience into one of joy and peace. Let’s go all in and make this holiday season the best one yet, even with the most challenging family dynamics.
Listen to the podcast here:
Watch the episode here:
- Uncover ways to turn holiday stress into festive joy with your family.
- Explore practical tips for handling challenging relatives this Christmas.
- Acquire insights on establishing boundaries for a serene holiday season.
- Learn the art of gracefully navigating family conflicts.
- Get motivated to craft memorable, harmonious holidays with your loved ones.
What’s shakin’? hey, I’m Rick Jordan. Today, we’re going all in. Difficult family at the holidays at Christmas. I did one of these similar to this two years ago. And it was regarding this, but that was in the middle of the pandemic and how to deal with differing opinions, because that was a big thing. About a year ago, right? And different things about vaccines and all that stuff. I’m not talking about that today. Because we’re going to talk about just general holidays today, right? Christmas is coming up. And thank god, there’s really no pandemic anymore. I mean, how Biden said that this is a joke, right? Biden said, it’s over, then it’s over. That’s pretty funny to me. But I’m making myself laugh with that one. But today, I’m going to talk about ways like very real ways, very applicable ways that you can go into this year, or when you think you have difficult family members to deal with. Now, this is one of the biggest things that can make or break your holidays, typically, you know, for people that think that they have troubles with this because family is like everything. Family is such a powerful force in life, that it can even create a sense of obligation, and all these other emotions that go around spending time with people in your close family at Christmas.
You know, I’ve even heard these phrases before, you might have to, 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 and my brother, you know, it’s not Christmas until my kids are puking all over the place or whatever, right? So it’s like 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 have before. If you’re in this scenario, right? Or even if you’re in any scenario, because conflict happens within families, it’s just inevitable, right? 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, it’s kind of a joke, it’s like, well, if and this means you, you must love you a lot. But here are some real ways, right? I started talking about expectations and negative expectations, the first way that you can change things up for this year in how to deal with difficult family members is to manage your own expectations. 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 like stressing out about it, and knowing that that’s going to 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 stirring 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 have from 20 3040 5060 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 is challenging you on somebody 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 to 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 timeframes, because maybe you’re not staying there, right? But maybe you’re going over there for 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 him why you have to leave in two hours? If they ask you, oh, well, what’s going on, we’d love you to stay for this, 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.
These are ways to make solid plans around the boundaries about how much time you’re actually spending with these individuals. Because deep down inside, I know that for most of you listening, you really, really love the family members that drive you nuts. Okay, I know it otherwise, you wouldn’t go over there. I mean, you grew up with these people, it’s it, there’s this bond that really is hard to break up and want to be with them, even now, 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. So 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 to say, hey, you know what, these days, 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 go see Christmas lights here, 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. It’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 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. 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, it gives me the opportunity to structure the day, the day that I the way that I want, it gives me the opportunity to, which is something I really, really love to do. This is really the root of it is I love to provide a good time for everybody else. That’s something that 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 one o’clock, hey, come over 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. Because we’re going to have dinner, we’re going to 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 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 ensign 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 start and 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 have 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 shoe in those shoes to where you are dreading Christmas with family because of a conflict that exists, 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 going to 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 is to say hey, you know what? I know these past couple of weeks. 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 this topic,
I just want to let you know that in spite of all that, I’m still here today. And I’m still happy that you’re here today. So how about we have a good holiday together? Isn’t that amazing? 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’re, you’re already pre-framing the time right when you arrive, this is going to take some guts on your part because you can’t expect your family member to do this. But this is for you to go in and pre-frame 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. Wow. 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 to that point, to begin with. So Merry Christmas.
GO ALL IN.