In theory, nothing sounds nicer or more wholesome than spending a few cozy days with family making holiday cookies, listening to seasonal tunes, and—of course—bonding. But between Mom’s ongoing vendetta against your sister’s significant other, Aunt Sarah’s constant need to be the center of attention, Dad’s grudge against his brother for something no one can remember, and the pressure to get everyone the perfect gift, the holidays can be downright stressful. Whether journeying home for a weeklong family-time marathon or hosting a few family or friends for a night, we’ve rounded up survival tips to make this occasion truly the most magical time of the year.


For many families, the holidays are the only time everyone is in the same place for more than a hot second. What better time to bring up a forgotten birthday, an unpaid debt, or a longstanding childhood feud, right? Um, no. If you can’t let go of an old grudge (and please, please try), don’t turn a holiday gathering into an airing of grievances. If forgiving someone just isn’t possible at the moment, put on a smile and focus on other matters.


Being around family has a way of making us revert to our childhood selves. Resist the urge to whine at Mom, fight with siblings about the remote, and, most importantly, defer to others about your own life. Grandma might not approve of your job or lifestyle choices, but when you’re an adult your life is your business. Don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself.

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