• Keiko Yoneyama-Sims

5 things to keep in mind for this holiday season when you are interacting with your in-laws.


Holiday season is here.  For most of us, family gathering is inevitable. 

If you have a great peaceful and fun relationship with your family or in-law family, you are very lucky and  do not need to read further more.  Keep doing what you are doing to maintain that peaceful and fun relationship. 

If that is not your case, you are not alone.  Maybe you have talked about it with your friends or at the coffee station at your office how dreadful it will be this year.  Maybe you wished that you could just sleep though it.


Want something different than usual dreading holiday with in-laws and excusing yourself to bathroom to just buy time?  Here are 5 tips to survive this holiday season with grace.

1 -  Remind yourself your goal for the gathering;  How would you hope to be like for yourself at the end of gathering when you are at the doorstep leaving or when you see your last guest leaving your house?  Not "I want my guest to feel comfortable" kind of goal.  It is exclusively for you.  Is your goal to just smile and nod and pass the time?  Is your goal to make your relationship with in-laws more closer and friendly?  Is your goal to enjoy food and nothing else?  Be honest with yourself here.  It is very important to know what you want from the gathering, so you would not stretch yourself too thin.

2 - Remind yourself it is not time to change them; relating the first tip of knowing your goal, your goal needs to be something you are hoping to do or get for you.  The holiday gathering is not greatest time to change someone's mind or behavior.  Maybe it is one of handful of interactions you have with your family or in-laws and you want to use it as maximum effect.  However, because of unusual schedule, increased volume of interaction, and financial stretch which usually come with holiday season, people are already stretched, let alone accept any new change.  Let's keep it for other time. 

3 - Knowing your limit; We all are knowingly or unknowingly influenced with how the holiday should be.  Feast covering every inch of dining room table.  Smiling Face.  A lot of gifts.  Be generous.  Be hospitable.  The reality is that we could do so much.  Know how much interaction is okay with you, how much time spent together indoor is okay with you, How about time spent together outside? shopping? cooking? How about budget?  Just because it is holiday and it is your lovely spouse or partner's parents, you do not have to let everything loose for them to grab.  It is okay not to be perfect and to have limits. 

4 -  Schedule down time; Schedule some down time before and after your interaction with family and in-laws.  Maybe trip to a local library.  Maybe trip to a park with your kids.  Maybe going to your favorite spa or hair dresser.  Maybe drink with your friend.  This one is especially important if you are more toward introvert type, where you gain energy by quiet alone time.  Unless you are social butterfly and can go on and on with social interactions, you will need some down time.  Because of visiting and hosting, it does not come easy for you during holiday season.  So schedule it.  Write it down on family calendar and your phone calendar. Share it with your spouse or partner and in-laws, especially if you are hosting.  Holiday season is just one part of our life.  It is not entirety.  Life goes on after the holiday.  We need to save some energy for rest of our life. 

5 - Find ways to follow up; If you read this far, you have some idea of what to do and how you want to spend time with family and in-laws.  It is time to put it in action.  But wait, you might say.  How do I do it?  It would be so different from what I do every year.  You might think, but wait, they might think I am rude.  Yes, changing how you go about holiday can be nerve racking.  Let's remind ourselves why we want these changes.  Is it to preserve yourself from feeling bitter and resentful toward your family or in-law or holiday all together?  Is it to prevent yourself from burn out on December 26th?  Is it to keep your stress level manageable?  Is it to be nice to your family in long run?  

When you come up with your own reasons, then ask yourself these. 

How important are these reasons for you?  Why are these important? 

Your answers to these question are important to know so that it can help you get over the nervousness of doing new thing. 

It is your holiday season.  Make it work for you too.  Hope these tips will be helpful for you to get through this holiday season with your family and in-laws.


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Last Updated on July 9th, 2020