5 things to do to avoid conflict with your family during the holiday season.

By: Branden Valentine

Make a detailed plan: It’s easy to just wing it but that will get you into a verbal slugfest with your significant other. Before you pack up the kids and head out choose whose house you will go to first and set out! This creates the expectation of when the family will leave, everyone will know including the kids when it’s time to wrap those plates in foil and head to the next house.


Keep the gloves on: We all have that one uncle that loves to drink too much and tell us why this politician is great or why that lifestyle is bad. Don’t engage, chances are he is too drunk to even remember the conversation tomorrow. It will throw him for a loop if you say, “You know you make an interesting point, I never thought of that.” and walk away. Chances are he will be confused by this move and retreat to a corner.

Focus on the positive: It’s easy to tell your out of work cousin what they need to do to turn their life around, trust me they have heard it from everyone at the party. Try throwing them a compliment, they will appreciate it and it will keep you from coming off too preachy.


Avoid the gift giving trap: It’s easy to go broke buying gifts for everyone, here are two things that have helped me in the past. 1) Pick one person to give a gift to, this works well when you have a large family. Put everyone’s name in a hat and each person picks one name and gives them a nice gift. 2) Set a gift limit. This really took the pressure off buying gifts for my wife. We agreed to buy only 3 gifts, since we weren’t trying to shower each other we ended up buying quality gifts.

Set up clear boundaries: You don’t need to go visit your family every holiday. If you make your rounds and hit 5 relative’s homes for thanksgiving, then stay home for Christmas! If family members complain, let them know they can come see you at your home!

The Holiday season can be extremely stressful please take care of yourself!

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