How to avoid a festive family dinner disaster
‘Tis the season for family gatherings and overindulging. It’s also the time of year that so many start dreading the family gathering, drunken snark and pending fallout. So rather than falling into the annual trap, leaving you with an emotional hangover that you’ll carry into the New Year, get your mindset ready so you don’t have a very shitty Christmas.
Here’s what you’ve probably been doing and what to do instead
- Preparing for the worst
You’re gearing up. You already know the narky quips that are coming, the subtle digs and you’re ready for it. Except this is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Hypervigilance not only puts you into a state of stress, but you are going to jump at shadows. Was that a subtle go at you? Maybe, maybe not but you’re sure as hell going to have a shit time finding out. Worse, you’re kicking off a ding-dong with your significant other because they’re pretty sure their mum didn’t mean it like that…
Our sensitivities are all our unresolved insecurities. If you’re solid on how you’re living your life, then Aunty McBitchFace can sup on her bitter observations all on her own. Rather than armouring up for the onslaught, start slaying your own demons and get solid on who you are and what you stand for. Snark will roll off your back and any disagreement that must be voiced will come from a “this is just how it is” place because you won’t feel the need to convince anyone of how you live your life.
- Not living your values
Heavily related to #1, we wade into the awkward conversation realm. We’ve moved passed the snarkiness and stormed into racist uncle territory. In the past you’ve uncomfortably shuffled in your seat and looked to your feet. You dread the inevitable conversations about politics, sexuality, and religion, but far from advising you to avoid these areas I say go in hard and call them out!
Why you hate these moments is because you walk away when you should be naming it up! You define the boundaries in your life and if you’re not reinforcing them, you’ll feel shit. Alignment with your values is essential for feeling good. I’m not asking you for a stand-up yelling match but a calm calling out and standing of your ground is the only way to leave Christmas feeling true to you. You might think you’re keeping the peace but while they rant and rage about homophobic or racist shit, and you stay silent, there is no REAL peace. This has ongoing consequences and your peace of mind matters. Live your values!
- Doing it out of obligation
The festive season comes pre-loaded with a metric tonne of guilted up obligation. All of what you “should” and “must” served up with a side of “but it’s Christmas”.
Don’t want to drive to and from one end of the country to the other in a day- don’t.
Conversation topics you don’t want to be drawn into- don’t.
It’s cliché but “no” is a complete response requiring no further explanation.
The emerging woman chooses what she does based on her values not what society brainwashes her into accepting. And that boxing day lunch with nanny CAN be moved to another day.
Craft the Christmas experience that you want in your mind and only say yes to what brings it to fruition. Regardless of what family might tell you, the rest IS totally negotiable.
If it’s causing you that much stress, you need to ask yourself why you’re doing it.
If you’re doing it for you, you’ll willingly put up with a bit of hassle for the sake of doing something you want. If you’re doing it out of obligation that stress needs to fuck right off.
- Writing off the rest of the year
Do you hit “pause” on your whole life and business because… Christmas.
Do you feel guilty because kids, family, and no one will be around anyway?
The world really doesn’t stop for anyone or anything. What beliefs you hold about how the world is, will affect how things play out. If you think nothing can be done until the kids go back to school, so it will be.
You can take a luxurious break BUT if you’re wanting to work through, you can do that too.
The key to enjoying this festive time on your terms is to decide how and when you want to dig in and act accordingly.
Bottom line is that what makes a delicious festive time is entirely up to you to define! You get to call the shots. You get to make the rules. You get to create the life you want to live.
The emerging woman does just that. She calls the shots and bucks the system. You are the emerging woman and you get to design your life AND your Christmas experience.
PS according to my big brother, wear comfortable pants because Christmas is yours. I say: hear, hear!