Health & Wellness - Five things you should never bring to Christmas Dinner

Courtney Rupertus

No matter which holiday tradition you follow, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, or the like, they all seem to have one thing in common: family time. For many of us, that can mean times of tight-lipped smiles, pent-up frustrations, and maybe even an argument here and there.

That said, you don’t necessarily have to fall into the same trap over and over again. It is possible to break free of any negative habits we may have when it comes to dealing with the influx of family members that the holidays bring forth.

Here are some things to leave behind this Christmas:

Complaints

“Supper’s late. I’m hungry. What are you guys doing in there?” If you are saying this out loud or even in your head, it’s a slippery slope. Anyone who has been around someone who complains all the time knows how it can snowball into more and more complaints, to the point where it seems like nothing will ever satisfy you.

Try to put a positive spin on things, cut your family members some slack (especially if they are doing the cooking, not you), and ask for a way to help out. A complaint is the exact opposite of gratitude. Lighten any negative vibes by throwing out a casual, “Wow, I’m so glad you are working so hard in the kitchen to prepare this special meal.”

Smartphones or Computers

For the love of Santa, leave your electronic devices in a room that is far away from the dining room, kitchen, gathering area, etc. There is nothing more divisive and plain annoying than someone who hides their face behind a screen while others are in the same room visiting.

Embrace the connectedness of the season and start looking at family members in the eye. You may actually find them less annoying when you pay attention to them versus half listening while scrolling Instagram.

Political or Religious Views

We all have them, and we all love to get fired up when we talk about them. Do yourself and everyone else a favour by skirting around these subjects. Even if something does get mentioned - don’t engage the conversation. There simply is no winning this argument and it just leads to everyone feeling dissatisfied and uncomfortable.

Instead, compliment the chef, discuss fun holiday plans you may have or want to make, or quietly enjoy your meal. Either way, it will enhance that feeling of “Christmas togetherness” to not have everyone loudly arguing about Donald Trump.

Self-Criticisms

Nothing is a bigger downer at a family gathering than that person who cannot take a compliment. Whether it’s the delicious cookies you baked, the nice outfit you’re wearing, or your extravagantly decorated house, simply say thank-you when someone mentions how good of a job you did.

On the flip side, it wouldn’t hurt to dish out a few extra compliments here and there to make your family feel appreciated. If you really want to amp up the positive vibes, take special care to express gratitude for someone you normally have trouble getting along with.

Busyness

Have you ever hosted a holiday dinner and realized once everyone’s left that you didn’t get to visit with anyone? Don’t get so busy doing this and that, making everything perfect, that you forget to sit back and enjoy.

Don’t rush - enjoy the food, enjoy the wine, enjoy the company, and embrace what is. No one will remember your kitchen being a disaster; what they will remember is your presence.