Holidays can be tough, especially when dealing with challenging relationships.  Aside from the financial investment you will make when purchasing gifts, there is the far more difficult task of deciding how much time and energy to put into a relationship during the holidays.  Most of the time, we simply calculate this based on our ROI (return on investment) but with families, the calculation is not always so simple and clean cut.  Sometimes, we have to “suck it up” for the sake of a loved one, or in the overall interest of maintaining peace among the various tribes that are a part of our lives.

If you have to grin and bear it for a period of time (as most of us will have to do at some point during the holidays) here are some helpful tips: 1) take a deep breath and filter your words before speaking to someone you don’t particularly like; 2) if you feel your head is starting to spin, extricate yourself from the conversation and go find a quiet place or take a walk outside to calm down; 3) set boundaries for yourself ahead of time so that you know topics to avoid.

When all else fails, try to remember to GIVE: be Gentle, show Interest, Validate feelings and keep the conversation Easy.   This is the season of giving after all, and if you are fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends and family for the holidays, then you also have plenty to be grateful for, so make sure you pay it forward.  One simple way to do that is to stay in control, opt to take the high road and make sure you don’t lose your cool or let someone ruin your family’s festivities.

By Regina A. DeMeo