5 Tips to Surviving the Holidays

It’s a few days  before Thanksgiving. Some of us are wrapping up work, preparing to travel to our loved/loathed ones (Circle correct word).

Some of have already made it to their family and friends. Others are scurrying around getting ready to host a crew. (Lord help you!) A few are already camped out for Black Friday (and that is a whole other blog which will be coming your way in few days.)

I’ve been the cause of some family holiday drama in my lifetime. Let’s just say there were times I pushed my family to maximum emotional limit and I’m amazed the law (or military) weren’t called in to intervene. Can you imagine the questions my future grandchildren would have asked?

“Mommy, why’s grandma wearing handcuffs in this family picture?”

“Oh, that’s the year she dumped her food on Oma’s head and then threw the TV out the window. Yep, our family photos went viral that year.”

This time of year, “to do” lists are long and tension builds as Thanksgiving gets closer. If you’re like me, “to do” lists can help you stay focused but when they are long and there’s a short amount of time, they fill me with anxiety. So I thought I’d share some Thanksgiving 101 in order to prevent a Thanksgiving 9-1-1.

blog photo - thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day we all come together but if we’re not careful, it’s a day that can divide us into teams…

Pumpkin pie vs. pecan pie.

Deep-fried turkey vs. roasted turkey (or even ham!)

Dressed to impress vs. game-day garb.

And the biggie…

Busy-bees (a.k.a. – busy-bodies) vs. slackers (a.k.a. – couch-potatoes in front of football).

Here’s the thing – there is no right or wrong way to do Thanksgiving. To some it’s about the food. To others it’s about the game. To some it’s about being together. To others it’s about having some time off.

So here are some tips that can bring the two teams together – or at least help them co-exist.

1. Remember that it’s ThanksGIVING – not ThanksRECEIVING.

When we focus on giving thanks instead of receiving thanks it helps us take our eyes off of ourselves. Life is too short to let a personal preference to kill a relationship. Make both pies. Try a new meat.

If you’re a football widow – take you’re hubby a drink as he watches the game. If you’re hoarding the TV, take various breaks to join the Marthas in the kitchen.

2. Find the humor in everything. 

If Aunt Bertha is cranking on how your political party is bringing the world to an end, find a way to laugh it off. Statistics show that laughter brings both short and long-term health benefits. The goal here is not win a fight but to survive a war, I mean, the holidays, with everyone still loving each other (and no one leaving in handcuffs.)

Finding a reason to laugh will send sweet, refreshing endorphins through your body. Just make sure that you are laughing with others and not at them.

3. Get moving.

It may be hard to convince yourself to exercise after cooking for 2 days straight, or sitting in front of the TV for those same 2 days, but the best thing for your mood is 30 minutes of movement – even if you break it up into two 15-minute breaks. Exercise also gets the good endorphins flowing, making us happier, more positive and will help fight depression.

It doesn’t have to be hard. During half-time do a family walk. Take the kids to the park (Just don’t leave them there. That too may be cause for a holiday involving blue flashing lights. Considered yourself warned.)

4. Enjoy the moments together, even if it’s not your idea of fun.

Some of us live for the holidays and family time and others of us are eager for them to be over. No matter which camp you’re in, try your best to enjoy the time together. My grandfather had a massive heart attack when I was 10-years-old. He and I were so close, but in a matter of days I had lost him forever. If I had known that Thanksgiving that it would be my last with him, I would have stayed on his lap and watched the whole game.

It’s not about the event, it’s the people who share them with us.

5. Leave the gadgets.

Don’t bring your gadgets to the table, and if you can stomach it, don’t bring them at all. Live fully in the moment. Make sure those who share the table with you feel as if they are the most important people in the world to you.

Be thankful this holiday season and give thanks freely – especially to God. Your circumstances may not be ideal but if you’re blessed to be sharing a table with family and/or friends, you have something for which to be thankful.

I Thessalonians 5:18 says it best.

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

Here’s to the best Thanksgiving and Christmas ever! And if for some reason it goes viral, laugh it off and then send me the link!

What helps you have a thankful heart?

Do you have any Thanksgiving 101 tips to share with us?





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