For many families, the only time they get together is around the holidays. Unfortunately some families need a Holiday survival guide to help them survive tantrums, family, and more. You may think children would be the ones having the tantrums but depending upon the family, it may be the adults having the meltdowns.

holiday survival guide

Plan Ahead. One of the best things you can do to survive the holidays is to plan ahead. Set up your tables, chairs, plates and silverware, and table so everything is as ready as possible ahead of time. This way you aren’t scrambling to get your house in order when your guests arrive. Make sure you have guests rooms prepared if your family is staying in your home or even as a place to lay little ones down for a nap if they need it.

Set ground rules prior to guests arriving. If there are certain topics which start heated discussions , you may want to suggest that everyone just skip those topics. Some of these might include politics, football teams or school rivalries.

Ask for help. Ask everyone to bring something for the meal, like side dishes, rolls, or dessert. This will enable everyone to feel like they’ve chipped in. And don’t be afraid to ask for their help in cleaning up and know ahead of time who that will be so you won’t have to do everything yourself. When you have everyone helping provide food and clean up, there will be less stress for you to deal with.

Make seating arrangements. Think about putting together a seating arrangement in case you have some relatives who don’t always get along. If Uncle Joe and Aunt Tammy aren’t speaking to each other, seat them as far apart as possible. With a little forethought and planning, you can have a quiet meal with pleasant conversation rather than fussing and sniping.

Have finger foods available for guests in case the meal isn’t readily available. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a good choice to give everyone a small snack which won’t interfere with their meal too much. Snacks will also keep children happy and out from under the feet of those preparing the meal.

Give the kids something to do. Coloring books and crayons, games and other activities can keep children occupied while the meal is being cooked and put on the table. If possible, have an activity table set aside for them away from the kitchen. Ask a teenager to help keep an eye on the children.

Try not to let negative comments affect you. There will always be that one person who finds something to complain about. Breathe deeply to avoid feeling like you could hit them or say something you shouldn’t. Smile sweetly and ask them to do something which will get them out of your kitchen.

Every family has members who don’t get along and children who misbehave but that doesn’t mean it has to ruin your holiday get togethers! You may only get together once or twice a year, so try not to let the frustrations get the better of you. Be thankful you’ve had the opportunity to spend time with family and then you can recuperate until next year.