“As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.”  

Is your home the peaceful, happy place you always wanted it to be? Let’s be honest, having “peace” during the bustle of the holiday season is not always easy!   As much as you love your family, partner and kids, frustrations, disagreements, and arguments can allow an entirely different atmosphere to permeate the entire house.  One negative word leads to another, all day long! Especially around the holidays.

We all have good intentions, but there is not one person I know how doesn’t get stressed this time of year.  So what can you do to reduce this negativity?

As it turns out, most of the difficulties you encounter with your loved ones most likely occur from miscommunication.  Add in some spiked egg nogg, a drunk uncle, and a packed house…well, those communication issues are bound to come up.

The tips below can help to alleviate some of those misunderstandings :

  1. Be open and honest with one another. While being honest, be kind when saying something that may cause a family member any distress.  Although you may want to shout out in frustration, or just hide away from confrontation, it is important to address the situation head on.  Be nice.  They are more receptive when you use kind words and a pleasing tone of voice.  When your family members are stressed they are more prone to being overly sensitive. Don’t make your mother cry over the turkey!
  2. Have some fun each day. It’s important to have fun together as a family. Family fun doesn’t have to take up the whole day, it can just be a small activity to break up any tension. It can be as simple as having a favorite appetizer (CHEESE!) or playing a quick board game. Simple things can make a big difference in how the communication flows in a home.
  3. Set priorities for chores that everyone must do. Agree on who does what chores and when they should do them. Let everyone participate with age-appropriate tasks. Write them on a chore chart for clear communication. Setting them up ahead of time can prevent a lot of arguments! Trust me on this one…late night fighting over dirty dish duty is never fun.
  4. Keep privacy boundaries. Adults and kids both need their privacy on a regular basis. Ensure that the kids understand the importance of respecting this priority. The holidays brings everyone together and can create chaos if there are not some defined boundaries set.
  5. Allow some free time. Everyone needs some time to do things on their own or with their friends. Meeting this need will help each family member feel more satisfied, fulfilled, and open to communicating.  Just because it is the holidays doesn’t mean it needs to be family time 24/7.
  6. Learn to negotiate. Learning to compromise and come up with win-win solutions for everyone involved is a priceless skill that will serve your family members well throughout their lives.
  7. Say, “I love you.” Each day, remember to show your family, spouse and kids how much you love them. Share loving, encouraging words and hugs freely throughout the day – even if it’s a hard day. (Especially if it’s a hard day!)

I know the holidays can be a nerve-wracking time for everyone, but try to practice these communication strategies to create a loving environment in your home. Just by taking a few simple steps to make sure you are communicating, laughing, and trying not to fester will make a gigantic difference.

Now go gobble up some turkey…and don’t forget the cheese!