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We have officially entered the season of merriness, full of gift giving, decorations and family get togethers. Yet, this beautiful time of year can be annoying when you find yourself sitting around a room with people you wouldn’t normally choose to spend your time with — certain members of your family.

One of my clients recently asked me how to deal with this, and since we have a lot of fun on calls, I gave her the things she could do to guarantee a dreadful experience.

Needless to say, we laughed alot, because most of us can relate.

There’s a quote that says, “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”

Isn’t that the truth?

We don’t have to show up, but for whatever reason, we still do, year after year. And, in many cases, year after year, we complain about it.

We start prepping for the drama before the day arrives. Because, let’s face it: we probably have years worth evidence to support that our next gathering will potentially be a disaster.

We walk into the room expecting the worst out of everyone, and lo and behold, that’s what we experience.

If you want to guarantee a dreadful family gathering, here are some of my favorite suggestions (many of them tested and proven by moi):

1. Expect everyone to act according to your own agenda.

Do not allow others to be who they are, but insist they conform to your liking.

2. Talk about politics

This works especially well if you’re a liberal sitting at a table full of right-winged conservatives, or vice versa.

3. Eat way more than your body needs

Go back for seconds or thirds, because you can’t bear to just sit there and feel what’s going on. Eat way beyond the point of elegant satisfaction, and then add misery in your body to the drama around the table.

4. Bring up last year’s argument

Never let bygones be bygones. In fact, go back a decade ago and talk about the disagreements that you had.

5. Wear yoga pants in the name of comfort

Don’t dare look your best at the gathering. That may actually make you feel great. So, dress down to match your mood.

6. Focus on every quality you loathe

It would be tragic if you focused on a positive trait of Uncle Billy. You might actually start to like him. Instead, zero in on the most annoying thing that you loathe.

7. Don’t help in the kitchen

Just sit there like a princess and be served.

8. Constantly look at your watch and count down the minutes until you can leave

Better yet, set a timer to go off every 30 minutes to remind you that your misery is almost over.

9. Sneak in a little work

Who needs family or friends anyway? Work is where it’s at.

10. Check social media as much as possible

Those friends you’ve never met are way more important than these annoying people surrounding you in person. Plus, misery is guaranteed if you compare the pretty, curated images of your never-met-before friends to your reality.

11. Get drunk

This always works like a charm. Just numb out by going crazy with the Egg Nog.

12. Roll your eyes often

No matter what is said, just give it the good ole’ eye roll. Everyone will feel so loved.

13. Be a nice girl

Don’t set boundaries. Let Uncle Buck shout profanities to you, like he did last year. Suck it up and play nice.

I’m sure I’ve missed some other ways to create a dreadful experience for yourself, but these work really well.

Now, I know that you don’t actually want to have a miserable family gathering. When you French Kiss Life, you are committed to creating memories that will make your 90-year old self proud of the life she’s lived. Yet, if you’re not mindful, you’ll just keep recreating the same ole’ thing year after year.

So, if you prefer to have a beautiful holiday (and I know you do), just do the opposite of everything I’ve mentioned above.

You are the creator of your own experience. No one can make you feel a certain way. That’s your responsibility. [tweet it}

Start now by…

1. Deciding that you’re going to have a fabulous time no matter what.

2. Understanding the triggers and bearing witness to them without reacting.

3. Let people be who they are and you decide who you want to be.

4. Be kind. First of all, to yourself. Then, to others. As hard as it may seem, there’s something good to see in almost everyone (yes, I said, almost, because I’m not so enlightened yet!).

Also remember, you don’t have to go!

Did I leave anything out? I’m sure I did. What do you care to add? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love & Occasional Sarcasm,



Did you grab the FKL Manifesto?