The holidays are always exciting, but they can come with their fair share of drama, such as having to spend large amounts of time with your partner’s family. Even if you get along with them most of the time, year-end festivities can cause plenty of stress. And ain’t nobody got time for that. Here’s how to avoid being sucked into the fray, survive the holidays and remain sane this December.

1. Consult Your Partner

Is something that someone has said or done bothering you and you are sure how to handle? It’s probably best to check with your partner first. It is, after all, their family. You don’t want to create a problem that could make their lives difficult. Yes, keeping quiet about something might be in conflict with your outspoken personality, but do it for them. Grumble under your breath instead.

2. Don’t Go There

You could over this time be witness to some pretty tense conversations. Our advice? Don’t get involved. Again, keeping your mouth shut might not be your thing but this is a guaranteed way to avoid being part of any unpleasantness. Instead, get some popcorn and watch the events unfold from the sidelines. Be grateful that it isn’t you in the line of fire. It is the season of counting blessings after all.

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3. Be Helpful

Your host looking a bit frazzled? Try to prevent an outburst by doing your best to lighten their load. Whether they need help in the kitchen, sorting out the house or even just a listening ear, try to be that person as best you can. No one should have to do everything by themselves so put on your figurative elf cap, roll up your sleeves and get working. Because, to quote the tired old adage, many hands make light work.

4. Take a Break

If you are anything like me, situations where there are a lot of people experiencing a lot of emotions, happy or otherwise, can be overwhelming. Chances are that if your partner cares about you they won’t expect you to spend every waking moment making small talk with their parents and extended family. As long as you are there for the important moments, feel free to take the odd break or to retire early for a bit of Netflix and snooze.

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5. A Little Respect

Being respectful is more than just remembering your ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’ (although those are very important – say them often!). It also means that you need to show respect towards their end-of-year traditions. This might not always be easy but it will mean a lot, not just to the family but to your partner as well. In the long run this will make your life easier too. Let that be your mantra.

6. Chill Out

2017 has been an average at best year for a lot of us. The last thing we need to end it off is family drama. The best thing to do is to take deep breaths regularly and roll with the punches. The holidays will be over before they have even begun, so be chill, be pleasant and be yourself so that you can make the most of it with your significant other… and their clan.