How To Not Hate Your Family During The Holidays

You have a plan.

A perfect plan.

Then, someone forgets the family dish to pass.

Becky spills the milk all over her brand new, paid-way-too-much-for Christmas outfit.

Your kids are kicking, screaming at each other, at you, and at Lenord the fish who sees it all.

There are a dozen presents still in Amazon boxes that were delivered to your door yesterday because you forgot you needed a gift for your 3rd cousin and her new boyfriend.

The thought of getting everyone in front of the tree for your yearly family photo makes you want to vomit.

You’re tired.

Your kids (and most likely your husband) are on your nerves, and you’re ready for Santa to bring you your first-class, one-way ticket to anywhere-but-here, and you have to WHAT?!

Spend the next two days with extended family?

Spend the next two days trying to explain to grandma why your kids can’t have the 37th cookie or candy cane, as she slips it to them anyway!?

Breaking routines, missing naps, and coming home with a few days off of work only to reap the repercussions of it all.

Woman tangled hair mess - Quote image - The expectations we put on ourselves, the guilt, the stress, the broken boundaries. We are doing this holiday thing all wrong. - How To Not Hate Your Family During The Holidays | The Pause Pursuit

Mama, may I say something to you?

We are doing this holiday thing all wrong.

All wrong.

We are putting unnecessary, false guilt and a sense of perfectionism on ourselves.

No one is doing this to us.

Read that again, NO ONE IS DOING THIS TO US!

Your kids would rather have PB&J or pizza than see you panicked all day about the roast your cooking in 6 hours, and if you shredded the potatoes correctly.

Your husband would rather show up to your family gatherings with the wife he spends the every-day-perfectly-IMPERFECT moments with.

Your parents would rather you celebrate the little victories you are having with your children, instead of listening to you discipline them at the dinner table because they are so excited that they are spending the entire day with family they don’t see nearly enough.

So, today…breathe in, breathe out, and know that there are hundreds of thousands of people in the world experiencing the same thing.

Let’s do this together this year, shall we?

This holiday, let’s do ourselves (and everyone else a favor) and focus on these 4 ways to not hate your family this holiday season.

1.) Focus your heart and mind on Christ.

This seems nearly impossible to do some days, (I know, I’ve been there) but what a great gift we can give our Heavenly Father (and ourselves!). Focusing your heart and mind on Christ will look different to everyone.

Maybe for you, this means you need to take some breaks from the festivities so you can be quiet and reflect before rushing to the next thing. Maybe you listen to a sermon, listen to worship music as you take a deep breath, unwind in a hot bubble bath, meditate in the Word, or perhaps you need to confide in a close friend to pray for you as you begin your family festivities.

If you are healing from a place of pain with your family this holiday, seek God’s truth in our recent post, Hole or Whole this Holiday | The Pursuit Of Something More

2.) Set realistic expectations and limits.

Prior to any family gathering or event, talk with your spouse about an ideal timeline, and any spoken or unspoken expectations upfront. When the two of you go to a gathering together in unity, it puts a roadblock up for strife to enter. Be open-minded about new traditions, and be willing to recognize the season your family is in, and what will be best for them (and you all) in the long run.

3.) You don’t have to please everyone.

Pray through your holiday calendar, recognize your limitations, and do what you can.

Do your best to make the holidays meaningful; focusing on what truly is important to you. Try not to take offense in the small things; it can be a stressful time for everyone. But also, once you’ve set limits, and found what works best for you and your immediate family this year, release the guilt of trying to make everyone happy. Do what you can, but also remember, you can’t please everyone (you’re not pizza)!

4.) Remember, changing people isn’t our job, loving them is.

Holidays can sometimes bring out our true colors (good or bad) and it can be so tempting to want everyone to think, act, or communicate the way you do. Before your first stop on your family adventures this holiday read through Romans 12, and as much as it depends on YOU, do your best to live in peace with everyone.

Romans 12:9-21

9 Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another, and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous.

10 Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.

11 Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.

12 Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times.

13 Take a constant interest in the needs of God’s beloved people and respond by helping them. And eagerly welcome people as guests into your home.

14 Speak blessing, not cursing, over those who reject and persecute you.

15 Celebrate with those who celebrate, and weep with those who grieve.

16 Live happily together in a spirit of harmony, and be as mindful of another’s worth as you are your own. Don’t live with a lofty mind-set, thinking you are too important to serve others, but be willing to do menial tasks and identify with those who are humble minded. Don’t be smug or even think for a moment that you know it all.

17 Never hold a grudge or try to get even, but plan your life around the noblest way to benefit others.

18 Do your best to live as everybody’s friend.

19 Beloved, don’t be obsessed with taking revenge, but leave that to God’s righteous justice. For the Scriptures say:

“If you don’t take justice in your own hands,
I will release justice for you,” says the Lord.

20 And:

If your enemy is hungry, buy him lunch!
Win him over with kindness.
For your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience,
and God will reward you with favor.

21 Never let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.

Father, I release my expectations and plans to you this Holiday season. I thank you for the opportunity to share your joy with my family that may or may not know you. I pray that they will see you in my actions, my conversation, and the way I love them. Today, we celebrate the way you first came in love, as you sent your only son to this earth to be Emmanuel, God with us. Thank you, Lord, for this gift!


Family, Hope




How To Not Hate Your Family During The Holidays


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