3 Nice Ways to Enjoy your Family Christmas

Be Nice to Family - Good CounselSanta’s List of the naughty or nice is the talk of the town leading up to Christmas Day. You might want to keep that thought in mind as you visit with family during upcoming celebrations.

To keep it simple, we’ll share three nice ways to enjoy your family Christmas.

Expect the expected!

Families come with certain dynamics such as birth order, events and history, disappointment, and personality conflicts. We all know that going in, then bristle or even over react, when the expected happens. But since it is expected, why not prepare to enjoy the family quirks, jokes, and yes, dysfunction.

Hone your Response – When your sister brings up how you “always have to win” or some other relational bruise, you can plan now how to respond nicely. Instead of turning away in anger, turn the tables. How would your sister respond if you said something like, “I won the day you became my sister, and just kinda got used to it!” Family gibes can be hurtful if you let them, so don’t let them!

“A gentle response defuses anger,” it says in Proverbs 15:1 (The Message). Not only the anger of your family member, but your anger as well. If you go in prepared, you can smile every time you play your nice card, and help create a new expectation for future celebrations.

Retreat to a retreat!

Once the talk around the table starts to simmer, take a friendly retreat to calm your nerves. When in the pressure cooker of family entanglements, a break in the action can help restore your perspective.

Create a Moment – Instead of running away, take a prepared retreat. Ask a favorite family member to go on an after dinner walk. Take the kids on a drive to see the snow, or neighborhood lights. Suggest a family phone call to relatives in another state, singing “Jingle Bells” just for the fun of it! Take a run to the store to buy a special treat, or volunteer to do the dishes, anything to give yourself time to refresh your nice capacity. Make sure it’s something you are interested in, that isn’t just shutting down in silence. Think ahead for legitimate ways to get a fresh start, and allow yourself the option to use them!

“Gracious speech is like clover honey—good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body,” it says in Proverbs 16:24 (The Message). You will feel more energy if you have a list of prepared and gracious ways to retreat before the party begins!

End with Loving Endings!

Think about each family member as celebrations approach, and find just one thing that you truly love about them. This will pave the way for positive thoughts to grow. Chances are you will think of more than one!

Find the Good – Your mom might be bossy, but her ability to lead might have helped hold the family together. Your uncle might drink too much, but isn’t he the one who taught you how to fish when you were young? The competition with your brother may have made you as successful as you are today. Give each family member a short hug and comment as you leave. Don’t put yourself on the spot, but put the spotlight on the nice thing they have brought to your life. Keep it simple and kind.

“Love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything,” it says in I Peter 4:8 (The Message). It’s important to remember how powerful love is. It can change the way you interact and perceive those around you, and give you a deep appreciation for your unique and quirky family.

Remember, you help make your family unique and quirky. Be nice and enjoy!

Chuck_FooterTNChuck has worked with couples and men for over 20 years, focusing on basic communication issues and crisis intervention and restoration. Read more >
He is the author of Marriage Recall, a compilation of helpful topics for couples. Read more at marriagerecall.com

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