The holidays are meant to be times to celebrate our blessings with family and friends and enjoy good food and fellowship. Unfortunately, if we don’t follow a few guidelines, those great times can turn into unpleasant situations. Here are a few things to consider during the holidays.

Realize this can be a lonely time for many people.

Not everyone has friends and family nearby to spend the holidays with. If you have an extra seat at the table, consider inviting a neighbor or colleague who would enjoy good food and company. Food is love, so it’s a great time to donate to local food pantries or consider volunteering at a food distribution center.

Don’t let the preparations overwhelm you and cause you to stress

Ask for help with preparations and tasks that usually take a long time will be done in a flash. If you don’t want to cook, ask each person to make a dish. If family is staying with you, put different people in charge of each meal. If presents become overwhelming, do a secret Santa drawing where you are only responsible for one person. Let some things go and enjoy the people and events around you.

Be prepared for the family member everyone talks about

Every family has that person who everyone loves, but who can be a little quirky or challenging. If new people are joining the gathering you might want to warn them what to expect. Form a united front to help keep this family member from causing any damage.

Have something fun for children to do

There are so many fun games and crafts to do during the holidays. Have an activity table set up and if weather permits, have some outdoor activities to do too.

Avoid certain conversations

A family usually means well, but some conversations and questions are best avoided. Here are a few.

Anything political

Don’t ask a student if he received all As this semester. You could ask instead how he likes the school.

Don’t ask a couple when they are going to have a baby.

Don’t comment on appearance.

Don’t be critical or make comparisons

Don’t break the bank

It is easy to spend too much between decorations, food, and presents, so make a budget and do your best to stick to it.

I hope these ideas help you enjoy the holidays with as little stress and as much joy as possible.

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