A – Accept your family for who they are. The old saying is true - you do not choose your family. If you are choosing to spend the holidays with them though, they must have some redeeming virtues. Human behavior is stubborn as are relationship patterns, so it is more likely than not that whatever grating quirks or habits family members had last year have not disappeared. Acceptance allows you to spend more of your mental energy and time enjoying your loved ones rather than frustrating yourself trying to change them.
B – Budget now. Money is a constant stressor for families, and with travel, big meals, and gifts, the holidays can intensify money-associated stress. Knowing what you have to work with and planning accordingly can help set realistic family expectations and take off some of the pressure. Planning ahead also can give you time to shop around for lodging options if you’re traveling and not staying with family.
C – Celebrate Conscientiously. Parties, vacation days and more people on the road combine to increase the risk of legal, or potentially worse, consequences from impaired driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during major holiday periods 40 percent of vehicle crash fatalities involve a drunk driver and in the Christmas/New Year’s Eve season, an average of 304 people die in drunk driving crashes. If a designated driver was not decided upon before the festivities, the use of car-sharing services provides a back-up for safe travels home. (Just be sure your phone is charged, so you can use the app.!)