Tips for coping with Christmas hosting/family tensions(5 Posts)
I'd love some tips on dealing with tensions in the house over the Christmas period. And I thought it might be benefit other people too.
My story is that we've invited my DPs for Christmas. This is our first Christmas with a baby and my DM's been having treatment for cancer this year, so it seemed like The Right Thing To Do.
However, now that it's approaching I'm slightly dreading it. My parents are not relaxed people and have quite set ways of doing things. They're also fairly critical and interfering, including around how we raise DD. I think they'll try to be on best behaviour but it really won't be easy.
My aim is to get through it with minimum stress to everyone, including myself (I have to remind myself of that last bit because usually I just absorb a lot of crap for the sake of an easy life and then feel resentful).
Other than reminding myself that it's finite, what can I do to help myself and everyone else?
Everyone is different but if it was me I would try and have a couple of meet ups before Christmas where I would be firm about their behaviour. I say this because I used to really struggle with DfIL. My husband didn't say anything and I used to dread it. When we had DS we decided to confront the unpleasant behaviour. Not in an angry way but just in a clear we won't be around that behaviour type of way and he changed. I cannot believe I am writing it but I genuinely get on really well now and enjoy his company. Much better than my family where I'm the only one who says how they feel. Everyone else just seethe internally at each other
Make yourself busy (won't be hard with a little baby!)
Perhaps ask DPs to bring a jigsaw with them or provide one yourself to keep them busy.
Consider going out for meal rather than catering yourself. That way everyone can eat what they want and not dominate/dictate/criticise the cooking process! Also arguments are less likely in public!
Consider going out for entertainment such as pantomime or carols. Again, less likely to argue in public, especially when you can't even talk!
Always have the tv/radio on, even if you're not particularly focussed on it. This helps avoid awkward silences, provides conversation starters or serves as a welcome way to quickly end a conversation (by pretending you're suddenly engaged with whatever you're listening to)!
keep things simple as possible- don't over stretch yourself cooking everything from scratch, etc. This is a year to go easy on yourself as much as possible.
Will your dp enjoy playing with the baby? I quite enjoy hiding in the kitchen while relatives keep my dc entertained. If you like help in the kitchen have a couple of jobs in your head that are easily delegated.
I try and choose a couple of DVDs that my guests might enjoy and stick them on the tv with the sound turned down and subtitles on. It fills awkward gaps and gives everyone a polite option to ignore each other if necessary
If you have another quiet room in the house put a few books, Christmas magazines, newspapers in there where someone can retreat for a while
Put a kettle, cups and jugs of water tea bags and snacks in the guest room.
Soups, stews etc are great for other meals. They can be made in advance and frozen and can sit on the hob if people aren't ready to eat etc
Older people are often set in their ways and need to eat at certain times to take medication or have difficulty digesting heavy meals at night etc.
Make a plan of timings for cooking Christmas dinner if it's your first go
and even if it's not
You don't need perfect relatives to have a nice Christmas. You can just decide to enjoy it regardless of how much crazy they bring. Mine are all nuts, down to the last man, on both sides. I listen politely, smile and say "thanks for telling me that" and do whatever the heck I want anyway.
Hth and good luck
Hi, my parents stay with us for 5 or 6 days every Christmas and the best bit of advice I can give is to get out of the house and blow the cobwebs away every day. We try to go for a walk or go to the pub for an hour or two for a change of scenery. Stuck in the house 24 hours a day drives everyone mad! Good luck.
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