Tis the season to be jolly right? Not when there are difficult relatives around. Instead of making an awkward scene at the dinner table when Uncle Albert just can’t stop telling crass and inappropriate jokes, use these tips…

Bump Up The Numbers

Turn that intimate dinner party into a big informal gathering with more guests. The more people there are to talk to, the less chance you will get stuck with one difficult family member. Just make sure you invite the people that you like to bulk out the numbers.

Manage The Time

If you know that a family member is awkward to deal with, then limit the amount of time you have to spend with them. Cut a week long stay down to 2 nights, or set the family meet up for the evening. That way, there will be less time together for potential drama to occur.

Limit The Alcohol

Alcohol has a habit of loosening tongues and inhibitions. So if you limit the amount on offer, then hopefully things will remain calm. Even if an awkward situation does arise, you won’t have to worry about increased emotion levels as a result of alcohol.

Look Within

If there is a particular family member that causes you to feel uncomfortable, asses why that is. Maybe it is an issue that you can work through to make things less awkward. Do they make you feel inadequate, or angry? Perhaps there is a way you can talk yourself down and let the comments fall away like water off a duck’s back.

Exit Stage Left

Sometimes there is no escaping the uncomfortable situation. Wait a minute, there is. Excuse yourself for 5 minutes to go to the bathroom or regain your composure outside. That little 5 minute break can give you new perspective on the situation, or at least give you the chance to cool off.

Save Confrontation For Later

Don’t be the cause of a new family story. Do you remember the time that Sarah completely went off her nut at Jason? No one wants to relive a bad moment over and over, but that is what could happen if you ‘lose your nut’ at a family gathering. Save your comments up and address the family member in question a couple of days after the fact.

Accept That Everyone Is Different

Your in-laws might have different traditions to you. They might eat different things, or have a different routine. But for the good of your relationship (with your partner and your in-laws), just run with it. Maybe you can arrange to go turn about so that one year you get to do your traditions, then their traditions the following year.

Christmas is meant to be a fun and enjoyable time to spend with family and friends. Don’t let one annoying family member spoil your festive season. Take deep breaths and try to keep everything in perspective. If all else fails, distract them with the kids!