Start a holiday tradition. Traditions can be an enjoyable part of getting together with the same folks for certain holidays every year. Specific tradition vary, of course. Go with something traditional, like reading the same short holiday book together, or something inspired by the spirit of the holiday.
For instance, during the winter holidays, you and your family members could all spend an afternoon volunteering together. Have a different family member choose the organization to volunteer with every year.
Gather materials for a holiday-themed activity. Whether you’re hosting or visiting home for the holidays, a planned holiday activity is something everyone can enjoy. For instance, have everyone bring over a pumpkin or other gourd to carve at a fall holiday party. Similarly, you can gather pine bows and pine cones so everyone can make a wreath for the winter holidays.
Make a point to connect with a few particular people. You’re never going to please everyone. More to the point, you likely won’t even be able to spend quality time with everyone when you’re home for the holidays. Decide beforehand who you want to catch up with this time around and initiate conversations or activities with them during your time together.
Try to let go of fixed expectations. This is much easier said than done, but it’s an important part of maintaining familial relationships. The fact of the matter is: If you have specific expectations about other people’s behaviors, it’s unlikely they’re going to fit these expectations perfectly. In turn, this may frustrate or otherwise upset you.
Instead of having fixed expectations about people’s behavior or specific things you’d like to have happen, try to approach the holiday together with a mindset that emphasizes getting along.
When you feel yourself become frustrated with a family member’s behavior, remind yourself that holiday gatherings are for nurturing connections, and that issues that need to be addressed are best addressed in other contexts. Avoid starting arguments. Let go of your expectations about the holiday, and be open to whatever happens at the gathering.
Take the opportunity to practice open-mindedness. It’s extremely common for disagreements or differences in perspective to arise when all of your family is home together. If a serious issue needs to be addressed, do so, but it may otherwise be best to let small differences in opinion pass when everyone is home together for the holidays.