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The holidays are always full of joy and good spirits as we come together with loved ones we don’t get the luxury of seeing regularly throughout the year. The aroma of sweet potato pies linger throughout the house, baby cousins who you haven’t met yet are passed around from arm to arm, conversations starting with, “You remember when…?” trigger hearty laughter and for the most part, love conquers the atmosphere.

There is often a moment, however, when things take a sudden turn and family drama erupts. To keep Auntie Pam from crying and Cousin Ray from fighting Cousin Lisa’s boyfriend who everyone is meeting for the first time, which ultimately leads to Grandma checking everybody with a few choice words, here are some simple things you can do.

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1. Be Considerate: Conflicts often start when a person is inconsiderate and disregards the needs or desires of another person. If there is a shortage of pecan pies and you’ve already had two slices, fall back and don’t gobble the last piece as tempting as it may be. When Uncle Charlie wakes from his nap and inquires about why his favorite pie that he didn’t even get a bite of is gone, trust that your family will be sure to let him know that you not only ate the last piece, but you had already had four slices. They WILL exaggerate the number, and Cousin Kim will stir the pot by rolling her eyes and recalling everything you’ve ever done—regardless of how long ago—that was remotely inconsiderate. Be mindful of others and avoid all of that and any other situations of the like.

2. Keep the Conversation Lighthearted and Merry: Maintain the cheery vibes by talking about all the good times and funny memories. As much as everyone misses Grandpa’ Earl, try not to go into how you wish he was here and all that soft stuff. It’ll only spark sensitive emotions and get some feeling blue and others feeling a little angry. It’d be a tragedy for your aunts and uncles to get into it all over again about how Granddaddy really wanted to distribute his belongings and who was supposed to get what, even though he didn’t leave a will to confirm any of their assured claims. Do everyone a favor and stay away from all touchy subjects. And if you see your Cousin Bobby’s 12-year fiancé Felicia going there, like she so often does, quickly change the subject!

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3. Don’t Show Up with Your Boo That No One Likes: Relationship trials are inevitable because people aren’t perfect. But as much as your family members know this, they still don’t like your man since you told them what transpired between the two of you last month. No one will care that you two resolved the matter and are in a happy place now. Give them time to get over what he did, and don’t jeopardize the joy by asking him to accompany you to Granny’s house. Someone, more than likely your overprotective big sister, will bring up the past feud and ask you why he’s there directly in front of him. You’ll feel the need to defend him, and before you know it, the two of you are going back and forth. A cousin from the other room will try to resolve the matter by reminding your sister of her own marital troubles and encouraging her to give him a chance. Your sister will demand that she mind her own business and there you have it: a heated argument and an awkward, unwelcomed-feeling boyfriend—who’ll later express his frustration to you in the car for telling y’all’s business in the first place. Your fam will get over it with time, just not this soon. He should be good to go by Easter.

4. Control Your Kids: We all love the babies, and the Holidays wouldn’t be the same without their giggles and pitter-pattering throughout the house. However, please have a conversation before leaving your home and once again before getting out of the car, reminding your kiddies to be on their best behavior. If they choose to still cut up once you arrive, be sure to check them immediately. Not addressing their misbehavior will only annoy your family members and eventually one of them will react. You will more than likely get offended and angry that someone else popped your child. No one will run to your defense, as they all grew tired of your child’s fascination with jumping off furniture, putting his/her contaminated hands in the food and annoying the other children to tears. This will result in you feeling like an outcast, and everyone else will silently contemplate if they’ll extend the invite to you and your Bae-Bae kids on New Year’s.

Let’s keep in touch. Follow me on Twitter: @VerityReign

Do you have any other tips to minimize family drama during the Holiday season? What usually stirs up confusion among your family? Share it with us below!

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