9 Ways to Make Spending Christmas With Family Truly Magical

12/15/2015 07:48 pm ET Updated Dec 15, 2016

In case you missed my incredibly helpful post about how to have a stress-free Thanksgiving, I thought I'd provide a new one for all of the festivities you'll be partaking in throughout the rest of this month and into the new year.

Over the next couple of weeks, we have Christmas parties, gatherings, cocktail hours, dinners, breakfasts, and gift openings to attend. Couple that with travel, sleep deprivation, last-minute shopping, overly judgmental relatives, and a carbohydrate/sugar overload, and things can get stressful. These tips are sure to alleviate some of that, and will be particularly helpful for those of us spending the holidays with family.

Here are nine suggestions for how to make Christmas with your family truly magical this year:

  1. If you've seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, be sure to give a play-by-play of everything that happens in the movie. That way, those who haven't seen it know exactly what to expect when they go.
  2. There are normally too many people in the kitchen trying to prepare dinner, and you'll probably be in the way. This year, consider standing just outside the kitchen yelling out suggestions and advice on how things could be done more efficiently and effectively.
  3. Now is the time to get serious about working out if we want to be in shape by the time warm weather hits. Be sure to remind your relatives of this. Especially the ones who look like they really need it.
  4. Suggest to your family that instead of exchanging gifts this year, you exchange hugs. Teenagers especially love this idea.
  5. Consider forming a sharing circle where you tell one another how you really feel.
  6. Remember to keep table talk "light" -- no one likes heavy, heated discussions at the holidays. If you didn't like my conversation starters for Thanksgiving, here are some new ones you can try out for Christmas:

- "Have you been 'keeping up with the Kardashian's' this year, or did you actually get a life since the last time I saw you?"

- "So what New Year's Resolutions does everyone plan to make and fail at again this year?"

- "I'm sorry you're single again this Christmas. Do your boyfriends keep breaking up with you because you have so many cats, or do you think it's your weight problem?

  • If you don't have any of those flavored coffee creamers I recommended for Thanksgiving left over, consider buying these:
    • Jack Daniels Single Barrel
    • Evan Williams
    • Early Times
    • Kentucky Gentleman
  • Don't neglect your cousins new baby. Show you care by asking whether or not that kid's head is supposed to be so enormous for his age. You make people feel special when you ask about their children.
  • Play a friendly game of "I Remember When". Everyone in the family takes turns reminiscing about the past. Some really fun examples are, "Mom, I remember when you repeatedly told me how fat I was as a teenager and completely destroyed my self-esteem", or "Dad, I remember when you told me I would never amount to anything. To this day I still talk to my therapist about it while curled in the fetal position with my blankie".
  • Wishing you all a very magical Christmas season!