- The holidays are upon us! (0:20)
- Are you ready for the holidays? (1:05)
- Three things you can do to have the Thanksgiving you want (1:45)
- Be kind to yourself (2:00)
- Be intentional (5:45)
- Create a plan of action (8:25)
- Bonus: A game to put some fun into your family’s dysFUNction! (10:00)
Thriving for the Holidays
If you’ve been with me practicing gratitude this month, we’re almost to the main event – Thanksgiving!
It’s that time again … THE HOLIDAYS are upon us!
You know, that time of year that’s magic, celebration, and togetherness … and STRESS.
Every year, we turn ourselves inside out during this period from November until January.
Christmas stuff is already on the shelves beginning in July (ugh), then Thanksgiving plans, meal prep, cleaning the house, decorations, Black Friday plans, Christmas shopping, Hanukkah gifts, teacher gifts, classroom parties, cookies, multiple holiday parties, visits to Santa, family gatherings, presents, presents, presents, New Year’s Eve plans, putting everything away, paying the bills – the to-do list goes on and on.
The tug-of-war has started, and it’s only getting warmed up.
Are You Ready for the Holidays?
Do you have a challenging family situation?
(I mean, who doesn’t…?)
Not speaking to your sister? Recently had words with your father?
Do you grin and bear holiday functions, praying that no one steps in shit and sets someone off?
What if I told you that you could enjoy the holidays … with your family?
That would be amazing, wouldn’t it?
Well, you can!
There’s a better way to kick off this holiday season that doesn’t involve white-knuckling. You no longer have to hold it together and hope that nothing pops off at Thanksgiving dinner.
3 Things You Can Do to Have the Thanksgiving You Want
Here are 3 things you can do to have the Thanksgiving you want – and these don’t need to be just for Thanksgiving. These are applicable for any gathering – work, friends, neighbors, grocery store, or whatever!
1. Be Kind to Yourself
Create the type of experience you want to have, one that feels good to you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Dress in what makes you comfortable
There’s no need to be uncomfortable all day. I’ve been there … wearing pants that might look cute but feel too tight after one bite of food. It’s not worth it.
Or fidgeting with my shirt all day because I feel self-conscious. Nope!
For you to be at your absolute best, you have to be comfortable!
Who cares what everyone else is wearing? Dare to be you, and wear what’s in your heart … even if it’s a cut-off t-shirt with sweatpants or a unicorn onesie. Fashion be damned – Comfort FOREVER!
Don’t assume that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t get along with someone
This is how I used to think. I mistakenly believed that if I wasn’t on the best terms with someone, it had something to do with me, or there was something wrong with me – Wrong!
Most likely, it’s their issue. Don’t make it mean anything about you. Some people clash … it doesn’t mean anything.
Take care of yourself
Limit your time around people who don’t lift you up.
Perhaps you put a time limit on your attendance. You can also limit how much you interact with them. Maybe just saying hello is all you can muster, and that’s fine.
Sometimes, less interaction is better.
Take time to check in and see how you’re feeling
Do you need a minute to take in what you’re thankful for? My sister taught me this trick many years ago…
I sit back and just watch the room around me. I make mental notes about what I’m thankful for. I notice the people I love, the beautiful scenery, the great smells, the delicious food, the buzz of energy I feel from the group, the gratitude that someone has put this meal together (and sometimes that person is me), the people who are cleaning up (that’s not my specialty – my sister and sister-in-law rock at this), and I always walk away with a full heart at the end of the day.
Taking a moment to see and feel the gratitude always gives me a boost and makes me feel so good.
Are you feeling drained, or are you energized? Some people are Energy Drainers while others are Energizers. Notice how you feel when talking to different people. If you start to feel drained, it’s time to move on.
Don’t forget to have fun!
That’s what the holidays are supposed to be about, in my book!
Embrace the things you love. Catch up with the people you adore. Spend time connecting with people who you don’t get to see very much. Play with your little loves. Soon they will be grown and may not want to snuggle anymore … soooo sad ☹
2. Be Intentional
Write down your intentions
Think about how you want to feel around your family (or anyone, for that matter), and then write down your intentions.
An example I’ve used is: I want to connect with people I love and enjoy being around.
Set the tone for the day with detailed visualization
Visualization is another powerful tool. It combines intention with super-detail to create what you want. The more specific, the better. Here are some things to ask yourself:
What are you wearing?
What does your hair look like?
What dish are you bringing to share?
What songs are you listening to on your way there?
Where do you park your car?
Who do you greet when you first arrive?
How do you want to feel throughout the day?
What are you drinking?
What are you eating?
How much are you eating?
What does the food taste like?
How do you want to feel after eating?
What does the house look like and smell like?
Where are you sitting?
Who are you talking to?
When will you know it’s time for you to leave?
How will you make your exit?
Now, journal about the entire day, and get really specific. Write down everything you want to happen and how you want to feel. Focus on your comfort, ease, and choose how you want to feel. Write it all down and set the tone for your day.
You can also simply write down how you want to feel. For example: I want to feel peaceful, grateful, and connected.
These intentions and visualizations are powerful, and they will set your energy for your event.
Because we tend to get what we’re expecting
If you walk in expecting to fight with someone, you most likely will find a fight. Your brain searches to prove whatever you are thinking is true.
So, if you’re thinking there’s going to be a problem, your brain will find the problem … it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Remember to stay in how you want to FEEL.
And if someone is driving you bananas, try this…
If someone is driving you bananas, you can repeat this Tibetan loving-kindness meditation to yourself … believe it or not, it really does help:
May you be well.
May you be happy.
May you be free from suffering.
I have found that if I repeat this several times, I really do feel the effect of feeling more peaceful towards whoever was previously driving me nuts.
Or you can also switch it to point to yourself:
May I be well.
May I be happy.
May I be free from suffering.
Give it a try, and see what happens.
3. Create a Plan of Action
In the event things go to a place you’re not comfortable with, create a plan to extricate yourself from the dysfunction…
Set a time limit for staying
Knowing that you will leave in two hours can help you feel free … especially because no one else knows your plans. You can always stay longer if you’re having fun and enjoying yourself, but you don’t have to.
Set up a rescue call in advance
Another way out could be to set up a rescue call with one of your friends in advance. I did this on my first date with my now-husband. I had my sister call me at a specific time to check and make sure everything was okay. If it wasn’t, her call was my out to fake an emergency and run for the hills.
A few months after we started dating, I slipped and mentioned to him that I had set up a rescue call. He didn’t laugh half as much as I did, but it’s all good now because we’re married.
Set up a code word or gesture
You can set up a code like The Queen of England has – when she’s ready to stop talking to someone or is ready to leave, she switches her handbag to her other arm, signaling her people to intervene.
And if it works for The Queen, it’s got to be GOLD!
So, maybe you pull on your ear or set up a word or phrase with your sister, or someone else who is there to rescue you. Only they will know that when you say “pineapple popsicle,” it’s a Code Red to help you. The biggest challenge with this one is figuring out how to work “pineapple popsicle” into a sentence. 😊
BONUS: A Game to Put Fun into Your Family’s DysFUNction!
With all of these suggestions, you have the tools to create a fun and enjoyable Thanksgiving for yourself, but I have one more thing for you…
My handout for you this week is based on a super-fun game created by my mentor and teacher, Dr. Martha Beck, called Dysfunctional Family Bingo. This game can put fun into the most dysFUNctional family gathering.
The purpose is to expect the annoying things you always encounter at family gatherings – but with a fun twist. You fill out the blank bingo card with events you think will happen, things that typically irritate or bother you, and then let the game begin…
You know when passive-aggressive Becky says, “Oh, I hope this is okay. I know I never do it right…”? Or when your cousin Lesley is always correcting your kids but never her own? How about when Uncle Teddy makes a racist joke? You might want to run for the door!
Maybe these aren’t your family’s issues, but I’m sure you can easily come up with 24 that are! We all can.
Download my feisty version of this game, and get your bingo card ready for Thanksgiving!
You can play this with someone at your family function or with a friend who’s at their own family function. You can text each other as the game is going on. Don’t forget to text “BINGO!” once you have 5 boxes across, down, or diagonally.
I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful for creating your best Thanksgiving yet.
I can’t wait to see your Bingo cards! Feel free to post them in my Find Your Feisty Podcast Community on Facebook.
p.s. On Monday, December 3, I’m offering a 90-minute Surviving the Holidays call. I’ll talk about how to make your holiday season the most fun and the least stressful ever, and also how to create the holiday you want without getting stuck in obligation or regret. Click here to get more info and sign up » Surviving the Holidays
Dysfunctional Family Bingo Game – Feisty Style (PDF)