“And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.” 1 John 4:21 CSB
Every family has conflict, there is no perfect family. Nothing brings out family imperfections like the holidays. But we don’t need to engage in the fighting. To help us navigate the murky waters of family during the holidays, we’re going to once again turn to Dave Ramsey. In his article we can find helpful tips to make this holiday season a pleasant one.
His first tip is to compromise on parties. Decide which parties you’ll attend, and how long you’ll stay. My husband and I always have a game plan in place for situations like this. We know before we enter what time we want to leave because we’ve discussed it and decided in advance. Dave’s second tip is to shorten the shopping list. This was a huge problem in my family years ago. With six siblings, their spouses and children, that was a lot of gifts to buy. But then we decided as a family to draw names, another tip on Dave’s list. This cut down on the shopping tremendously, as well as the anxiety of finding the perfect gift.
Spending time with relatives we don’t like is also an issue at Christmas. Dave says the same thing my mother always told me: “Just be nice, you don’t have to be their best friend.” Of course, we all know this is easier said than done, especially when there is a long history because of the family relationship. But we can be polite and smile for a couple of hours. Another family issue is those members who we feel should be more involved. They are the ones who only call when they need something. Dave suggests each member make a “Christmas Promise” with another family member of something they would like done, as well as a timeline for doing it. This helps show the value of being involved.
For kids who are ungrateful for their presents, use the moment as a time to teach them gratitude for what they do have, instead of what they don’t have. Of course, Dave talks about grandparents who spoil their grandchildren, especially if they can’t afford the gifts. Help them understand the kids care more about their presence than their presents. Money doesn’t buy love, intentional time spent together does, whether it’s getting ice cream or watching a football game.
The last thing Dave talks about is traveling versus staying home. Again, compromise is the key. Plan ahead, think about the financial side of the trip and pre-determine how much you travel and when. Then communicate your plans to the family as soon as possible so any possible issues can be dissected easily.
And one last thing I try to use for everyone I meet, whether I’m related to them or not; Christ died for them. He loves them, and we’re to love them too, even family. Sometimes, we’re the only light of Christ some people will see, let’s shine brightly for all.
I’m going to find rest by not fighting with family. How can you find rest today? Comment below.