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Committed: The Ties that Bond

with Angella Dykstra

I'm a mom of three, a professional accountant, and an amateur photographer and writer. I am not a marriage expert. But my husband and I take "Til death do us part" seriously, and here I'll be sharing how we keep our marriage strong while we both do that insane work-life juggle.

Check out my Work It, Mom! profile and my blog, Dutch Blitz.

5 ways to survive the holidays with your in-laws

Categories: Uncategorized, family, holidays


We’re in the midst of Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas is mere weeks (weeks!) away. There is also Hannukah and other holidays that my family does not participate in, but which we respect your family’s right to. With all of these holidays crammed into such a short amount of time (weeks!), it means that you’re going to be spending at least one dinner with extended family. You might even be trekking for many miles with cranky children, only to have horrible sleeps on spring-loaded hide-a-bed mattresses, and then trying to smile nicely when your husband’s mother asks you if you’re taking a break from working out, because your face seems a bit ‘puffy.’

Never fear! I have five tips to help you survive the holidays with your in-laws, be they the woman who birthed your husband, or creepy/drunk Uncle Ted.

1. Host the dinner. If you’re busy in the kitchen pulling the meal together, you can ignore everything else happening and find solace in the fact that while everyone else is dealing with Uncle Ted, you are in a quiet kitchen with nobody other than your husband grabbing your butt.

2. Keep the conversation at surface level. Now is not the time to hash out grievances, or call people out on their passive aggressive comments. Deflect any ridiculousness, sip your wine, but take mental notes so that you and your spouse can reenact it all later and have a good laugh.

3. Get drunk. I’m totally kidding on that one; that’s Uncle Ted’s department. But have enough wine/beer/spirits that you have a warm and fuzzy feeling, but not so much that you think it’s a wise time to have ‘deep conversations’ that can (WILL) go sideways. (See point #2.)

4. Hang out with your kids. If you’re spending many days in the home of an extended family member (I’m sorry, and) playing Just Dance with the younger set sounds a whole lot more fun to me than hearing about every ailment/complaint/eye-roll-worthy comment that could be fired your way from the older set.

5. Set off the fire alarm. A lighter up to the fire detector and BOOM. You’re all evacuated and have something else to talk about other than how your kids are picky eaters and how poor Uncle Ted really does need some help.

How do you survive the holidays with extended family?

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2 comments so far...

  • You know, holidays with my in-laws are easy peasy. I get along with them fantastically and they’re so easy to be around. MY family, however … well … yea. Drama and passive-agressiveness and, well, let’s just say it’s not my favourite. I mean, I have some great family members, obviously (some live down the road from you!), but let’s just say that my in-laws = no stress and my family = STRESS!

    I know I’m in the minority. And I’m SO grateful!

    Mrs. Wilson  |  November 23rd, 2012 at 6:05 pm

  • Very sad that parents, in-laws/out-laws can affect your holidays so much.

    I’d say plan your own holidays if it is too difficult to spend time with family members. I am sure they are thinking the same things you are.

    Gramm  |  January 26th, 2013 at 2:03 pm