What is supposed to be a wonderful time of year can become stressful when you add in the relatives. Family can be a blessing, but it can also make the season difficult. So here are a few tips on how to survive the holiday relatives.

Psychology Today lists a few great, common sense tips to making the family visit happy and explosion-free.

  1. Don't take the bait! There are those family members who will try to start an argument, or just to get under your skin. Don't let them! Chances are you knew ahead of time that the subjects would be brought up, so prepare yourself. Remember to just let it go.
  2. Don't overindulge in alcohol. It's easy to drink too much as we all laugh and celebrate together. Just remember that the booze will loosen your tongue and your ability to watch what you say. Best to keep your head about you!
  3. Count to 10. When something does make you mad, take a minute....count to ten...get yourself under control before you answer.
  4. Take a time out! If you just can't take it anymore, don't. Take a walk around the block. Take a short drive. Or just go to another room to be by yourself for a few minutes. Sometimes all you need is a little space.
  5. Observe. It's not always easy to do, but as much as you can, just observe the proceedings. Think of it as watching a movie. You'll be amazed what this detachment can do for your perspective. You might actually be able to laugh at how ridiculous it is that Aunt Milly is still harping over that ugly sweater she received five years ago!
  6. Remember the big picture. Family can be trying. But it's a few hours out of your life and then you can get back to normal. A personal trainer I know is always saying "You can do anything for 10 seconds!" Same applies here. If you're feeling stressed, just remember your comfy clothes and favorite movie waiting at home. You'll get there!
  7. Finally, be grateful. Your family may be a pain in the butt...but imagine if you didn't have any to spend the holidays with! When I think back to Thanksgivings in years past spent in Aroostook County, I wish I could have one back...a day spent with my grandparents who have been gone for years. Appreciate your family and count your blessings....including the fact that it only comes around once a year!