A Dozen Pre-Christmas Hacks
We all know Christmas events and family gatherings can be stressful. I get it. Drama wrapped in beautiful paper and adorned with a bow is still drama. But I want to suggest that they don’t have to be terrible. In fact, they can be pretty good…even wonderful! Like anything else in life, things will go better for you (and everyone else) if you apply some common sense hacks to your situation and work them!
Want some specific hacks to get you to and through Christmas?
Here you go!
1) The right time to have that difficult conversation with a family member is NEVER on a holiday. If it has waited until now, it will wait a few more days.
2) If someone is offending you by saying all kinds of dumb crap, just leave the room. Strategically avoid them if you must. There is no point starting WWIII right before the ham is served.
3) Focus your attention on the older people. Encourage their stories and ask them questions. Learn about your family tree or the business or about their lives. They have much to offer and there are no guarantees for next year.
4) Turn off your phone. Whatever it is, it will wait.
5) Slow it down. Make people stick around and actually talk to each other.
6) Hand out as many compliments as possible. I have just given you the key to personal popularity.
7) Liberally apply grace, good manners and appreciation. Gravitate toward isolated people and introduce people who may not know one another.
8) Help clean up. Don’t ask if you can help. Just help.
9) Create wins for children. If you are at a gathering and have small kids don’t put them in position to fail by staying too long or leaving them unsupervised. And if you can tell things are deteriorating; leave while you are “still ahead.”
10) Exercise your right to remain silent. If you get a bit aggravated and wonder whether you should say something or not…you shouldn’t. I have never regretted a single potentially volatile or hurtful thing I didn’t say.
11) Be in a good mood. Smile. Shower people with positive energy! Bonus points for faking it.
12) Remember the reason for the season. The essence of Christmas is about big things, not small ones. Things like joy, hope, peace and love. Shower people with the big things and the small things will take care of themselves.
Merry Christmas everyone!
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois