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Relationships: Multi-generation family prepares dinner in kitchen.

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Oh the holidays. Greens simmering in the pot. Nieces and nephews running around the living room. Grandma preparing the sweet potato pie….and drama. Yes, the most wonderful time of the year can turn into a nightmare when family members come together with conflicting points of view and skeletons in their closet. On the upside, you’re not alone. Marie Hartwell-Walker revealed to PsychCentral 10 ways you can sidestep the family squabbles:

  1. Line Up Co-Conspirators: Hartwell recommends picking a few family allies to help you handle your crazy relative. Take turns having conversations with them so no one person gets ‘stuck.’ You can also give out household or cooking assignments to everyone to keep rogue family members busy.
  2. Invite Family Buffers: If you invite the old ladies from the church or a teacher to your festivities, the family is less likely to hurl curse words across the table. Having guests can help keep your people on their best behavior.
  3. Slow Down On The Alcohol: Drinking can cause a lot of relative to act out in ways they wouldn’t if they were sober. Try serving sparkling cider in the place of wine or liquor.
  4. Make Seating Assignments: If you know two of your Aunties are still bickering over their childhood grievances, put them on opposite sides of the table. You can make it less obvious by having the kids in the family color and paint name cards.
  5. Give Kids A Way To Be Included: While the adult table starts playing dominoes and cards, make sure you have activities planned for the younger people in the family. Set up a craft table with crayons, coloring books and games, so you don’t have to deal with their complaining and whining while the food digests.


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