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A Survival Guide to the Holidays

We’ve all been there. Passive aggressive comments. Bad gifts. Arguments over who’ll cut the ham. But, hey, it’s the holidays, so we deal. But here are few ways to make it a tiny bit less stressful.

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Exercise

Exercise if you know you’ll be seeing your in-laws. I know, I know, it’s a busy time, but trust us. Exercise will relieve some of your stress that will only be made worse by the “in-laws.” Release the tension and allow those endorphins to run through. You’ll need ’em.

At their house for dinner? Go for a quick brisk walk after dinner. Change the scenery and get some air. It’ll do you wonders.

Keep it Closed

Your mouth, that is. It’s not the time; it’s just not. Let the passive agrressive, snarky remarks float into the air. Pretend you didn’t hear. Look up and say, “Hmmm?” as if you were distracted. This will give the other party a moment to rethink the questionable comment. If your in-law doesn’t take the cue, then just smile, nod, and walk away. Repeat this mantra to yourself: I am the bigger person, I am the bigger person.

Look Genuinely Happy

That’s right, big hugs at the front door. Lots of love. Fake it if you have to. But your in-laws want to feel welcome in your home. If you’re a woman reading this, your mother-in-law may not ever feel totally welcome. Lay it on thick.

On the flip side, greet them at their home with gifts, food, wine, whatever. Compliment the aroma, the new window treatment, or the hideous Christmas village display.

When you get your hundreth scarf from your mother-in-law, look like you’ve never seen anything so gorgeous. When they get your kids a drumset, tell them what a fabulous idea it was to get your kids into music. You’ll be forever grateful.

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Teach Your Children Manners

Your in-laws really, really want to spend time with their grandkids. Now is a good time to impart some wisdom on your kids. Christmas is a time for family and your grandparents are so excited to spend time with you. Remind them about manners, including the ones that require them to thank grandma for the knitted sweater. Because guess who your in-laws will blame if your kids act ungrateful. That’s right. You.

Remember, Smile…it’s Christmas! ­čÖé