The Holidays, Family And Your Sanity: Can They Co-exist?

Guest Post
holiday family gatherings

The holiday season provides a great opportunity for families to spend quality time together, but this can also lead to a lot of issues, especially if you have a gathering in a relatively small place. Fortunately, taking a proactive approach will provide you with many ways to alleviate the stress of the holiday season.

Five Tips for Having a Harmonious Holiday Family Get-Together:

family online survey

Ask Everyone to Fill out a Quick Online Survey

Putting together a holiday dinner is difficult enough without needing to be concerned about whether or not you are making something that is appropriate for everyone’s dietary needs.

Therefore, it makes sense to send each of your guests a short online survey at least a few weeks in advance so that you can learn about any allergies or special diets that need to be considered.

Keep in mind that even close family members can be unaware of allergies that could trigger a trip to the emergency room. A simple survey can make sure that everyone’s needs are taken into account, and this will also help you avoid having a vegetarian guest end up with nothing to eat.

family gatherings and alcohol

Limit the Amount of Alcohol Served

Research indicates that the total amount of DUIs and alcohol-related accidents increase during the holiday season, so you need to be a responsible host and limit the amount of alcohol that your guests can consume. Make sure that you also encourage anyone who has had too much to drink to spend the night so that they do not find themselves in a car accident after their intoxicated drive home.

White Elephant Gift Exchange

Utilize a White Elephant Exchange

One of the major things that stress people out about the holidays is trying to come up with enough money and gift ideas to satisfy everyone.

This is a problem that you can almost completely eliminate by organizing a white elephant gift exchange. Instead of purchasing for everyone, each guest will only need to bring one gift, and you can set a dollar limit to keep people from spending an exorbitant amount of money.

argument conflict

Be Cognizant of Family Conflicts

It is almost inevitable that a large group of people from multiple generations will contain at least one or two individuals who seem to enjoy bickering during the holidays. You can help reduce the odds of dealing with a big fight by carefully organizing a seating chart.

Additionally, it is a good idea to use multiple rooms in your home in order to provide space for people to bond while enjoying their favorite activities. For example, some people can watch football in the living room, and you can use another room for people who prefer being crafty together.

Potluck gathering

Have a Potluck Meal

Another perfect way to remove some of your stress and to ensure that everyone has something to eat that they like is to turn your holiday meal into a potluck. You should also consider doing something outside the box to help people relax such as inviting everyone over for brunch and asking them to wear their pajamas or comfortable clothing as opposed to getting dressed up.

Holiday stress can sometimes make it difficult to appreciate having everyone together in one place, but you can make this year’s gathering more relaxed by utilizing the previously listed tips. You can also create an environment that encourages people to talk to each other by having everyone check their cell phones at the door.

Just make sure that you give everyone a chance to grab their phone when it is time to take pictures!


  1. These are great tips, we finally set a limit to our gifts and a potluck is always the easiest way to go.

  2. We’re doing a couple of things right. We do a white elephant and a potluck!

  3. Yep, I am all for a potluck. It is the perfect way to help you keep your cool.

  4. I usually work on holidays, which I only sometimes mind, but if I’m off this year, I’ll be sure to follow these tips. 🙂

  5. I dont think we’d make it without blood even if we followed this tips… Lol

  6. Having new guests (ones you’ve never served before) fill out a survey about their eating habits is brilliant. It would really suck if your main course was pork and the sides had some variation of meat added to them and one of your guests is vegan.

    I like that idea a lot, then you can plan ahead.


  7. I don’t let the holidays stress me out. I like to keep things simple and fun.

  8. Those are great tips. I have to admit, there’s a certain amount of dread that comes with each holiday. I love to be with my family but the holidays are stressful!

  9. I haven’t spent the holidays with my family in over 20 years. It’s just been our immediate family for a few years which has made the holidays relaxing and stress-free.

  10. I totally agree with limiting the alcohol. We actually make it a point to not serve it at all at family gatherings when everyone is there — someone always says or does something stupid when it’s available that takes all year to make peace about!

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