If this is the case for you, I am popping in to tell you: you are NOT alone. Most families have at least one asshole, even though that asshole might even be you. There is probably no such thing as a completely harmonious Christmas. Why? Because family. It is the one day of the year you may be forced to spend with people you are related to (either by blood or marriage), but might not actually like. We are all trying to survive the Potential Political Minefield of food, duties, gifts and company.
It’s the one time of year we tend revisit old resentments and often family arguments erupt over long-forgotten slights.
Here is what I have learnt:
Stop trying to impress people, they’re so wrapped up in their own shit they really don’t care (this was a very painful lesson for me)
Don’t expect anyone to thank you for anything (enough said)
Don’t over-commit on duties (it is probably the first year as an adult I’m really going to achieve this, will let you know how it goes..)
If someone doesn’t do/bring/make what they said they would, nod and smile and top up your wine.
Immediate family (i.e.husband/partner and/or children) FIRST. Always. If you’re spending 3 days cooking and cleaning you didn’t *actually* spend Christmas with the most important people.(yup, another lesson I had to learn the hard way)
If someone doesn’t like what you gave them: whatever. Smile and hand over the slip so they can go and exchange it. Then top up your wine again.
If someone doesn’t make an effort IGNORE them. They’re probably not worth the mental energy you waste on them anyway. Rather go and hug a child.
If none of the above helps, at least back away from the cutlery, you don’t want to be stabbing anyone with a fork on Christmas day. Then sit back and watch the day unfold, you might be amazed by what you see.
Lastly: for friends who are not spending Christmas with their children, suffered loss this year or are spending this time under extraordinarily stressful conditions: I hold you in my heart. I know how hard the day will be for you, but I promise you that it will get better, either through a change in circumstance or through acceptance. Failing that: just smile and wave.
And DON’T, for the love of Christmas, be an asshole.