Online Magazine For Black Men

I Hate Visting My In-Laws On Christmas

Don't you just love the holidays?

Question from Jermichael:

Let me start by saying I don't hate my in-laws. Some of them are a little nuts (especially around the holidays). But for the most part, they're pretty cool. I just hate going through the motions during the holidays. My wife grew up in a large family, and they did it up big on Christmas. Lots of food, gifts, singing and praying, and even a mandatory visit to their churchs' Christmas night service. Oh, and you know somebody has to act a fool during those 3 days. A cousin, brother or uncle either gets arrested, shows up to Christmas dinner drunk, or picks a fight with other family members.

Please tell me there's a way to avoid this mess every year?

-- Jermichael

The Brothas Response:

Wow, J. Your family get-togethers at Christmas sound like a party, church service, and WWE match all rolled up into one. If it makes you feel any better, most families (especially around the holidays) behave the exact same way. And some family gatherings make your family Christmas look like a calm day at the park.

It's okay to be frustrated with the obligatory family time, the in-laws, and the whole holiday mess. None of us look forward to it every, single year. But unfortunately, it's part of the package you signed up for when you said, "I do."

When you're married and have kids, you often have to do things you would rather avoid. Whether it's attending a school recital, or hanging out with crazy in-laws, it's not always easy to side-step. We're not saying you have to attend every Christmas dinner, or show up to every event. But if your wife enjoys it and asks you to attend, you should probably say "yes" more often than you say "no."

Here's a tip: While visiting your in-laws during Christmas, and right before boredom and frustration sets in, offer to do something--anything that takes you away from the drama for a little while. For example, gather up the crumpled gift wrapping and paper plates, and take your sweet time walking it to the trash receptacle outside. Or, step away and spend 15 minutes on the phone (i.e. voice, text) wishing co-workers or friends a Merry Christmas. It sounds silly, but stealing a few minutes away from the Christmas chaos can work wonders for the mind.

You can also create your own holiday traditions such as watching basketball games, or playing cards with an in-law you feel possess some sanity. This allows you to escape the madness for a few hours and it gets you that much closer to departing until the next holiday.

But whatever you do, try not to walk around in a foul mood. When you're upset, frustrated and distant, it shows vividly at family gatherings. Even though your in-laws can be nuts, you don't have to be one.


The Brothas

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