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How to Cook Up Friction-Free Holiday Dinners

By Sandy Schroeder

Holiday pressures can range from fixing the dinner to figuring out how to keep everybody happy when they arrive. If you have the recipes figured out, but are still working on the guest list, you may feel the tension mounting. Most people I know have one or two relatives that they only see once or twice a year. When we blend them into holiday events things can get complicated.

Perhaps the most important thing we can do is stay calm. Accepting everything as it is could make the day more enjoyable without expecting it to be perfect. Therapists are people too, with similar issues, and they recommend keeping it low key, according to the Huffington Post.

Here are some more of their tips.

Keep an open mind - Just go with the various age, appetite and mindsets of the mixed group. You might be surprised how well it all works out. I have seen this work time and again as old, young, conservative and liberal people, sit down to dinner together and make allowances for differences.

Be kind to yourself - Don't load yourself up with unrealistic expectations. Hang onto your sense of humor and draw lines wherever you need to, staying true to yourself.

Know your own tolerances - Some people are tolerable in small doses. Decide in advance how everyone fits and keep your balance by lingering with some and moving on when others become difficult.

Establish boundaries where needed - When you already know where problems lie, alert everyone of what is expected in advance. Asking people to avoid hot topics may go a long way to smooth out the day.

Turn down the volume - Soft background music, quiet voices and a relaxed pace can do a lot to prevent heated arguments or provocative remarks. Getting people to help setting the table, pouring the wine, or helping with small children can keep people involved and out of altercations. Moving people into small groups can also help everyone relax.

Bring a helper - If you have a friend or special buddy who is good with people, you might ask them to attend and lend support when it is needed. I have seen this work like magic to keep everyone engaged and relaxed.

Just go with it - When the actual day unfolds, enjoy the time with your friends and relatives and be glad that you can all get together. In the midst of a chaotic world, you may find everyone else is glad to be there too.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Loveland, Colo.

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