Whether it’s a week in the sun, the Easter bank holiday or the long anticipated Christmas festivities, there are some key rules for avoiding a family holiday drama. If you have any pearls of wisdom to add, please leave them in the comments below to help others 🙂
1. Don’t set expectations too high – you can only control 50% of the conversations and interactions. You are responsible for your words and actions but not those of others. You might not know what they have going on behind the scenes which in turn drives their mood and behaviour.
2. Set some clear boundaries about how you would like the holiday to be (and stick to them) – if you need some time with yourself/partner/your family each day (to chat, gossip, laugh, eat) make sure you schedule it so that from day one you have that time out to recharge.
3. Have a code word – that is your ‘get out’ code for when things are getting to hard to handle. My friends and I use this all the time and it is a superb ejector seat in life! Eg: cousin Bertie is really pushing your buttons, so you can say to your ally, ‘How about we open that pack of ‘bourbon’ biscuits now’. ‘Bourbon’ is your code to action ‘get me out of here NOW!’
4. Keep a notebook for anecdotes – it might be painful writing some of the events at the time, but in weeks, months, years you might laugh or at least shock friends with the outrageous behaviour of others! You will hone your skills of tongue biting as you can lodge all your thoughts down on paper with the satisfaction that you didn’t join in the circus of a crazy debate or argument.
5. Have something each day that you can look forward to – whether it is quiet time reading a great book, a soak in the bath with a glass of wine or taking off with a friend/child to the bakery/garage. See it as a treat, look forward to it and don’t take your eye off the ball.
6. Be prepared for the unexpected – have you thought what your reaction would be if another guest told your child off for something? How would you handle seeing another guest’s child doing/saying something naughty? Have you packed your European health card? Have you packed any hard cash for an emergency getaway if needed?
Holidays should always feel fun, but sometimes they just aren’t, for all sorts of reasons. You certainly learn over time the people that can be trusted and are reliable when away from home and those times are fabulously memorable. But sometimes we are thrown together with people that just aren’t our cup of tea, so I hope that if ever you find yourself in that position that this blog comes to mind and gives you some comfort and top tips!