Well, tonight is our family dinner and gift exchange with the Husband's family. I'm writing these reminders mostly for myself, but you may find something useful here as well. Ready?
1. Do not discuss politics, no matter how wrong and or/racist your in-laws are about President-Elect Obama. Even if your 8-year old nephew states (again) that the day McCain lost the election was the saddest day of his young life, say nothing. Even when your almost 90-year old grandfather in-law refers to PE Obama as 'that (expletive) who'll be shot before he serves a month in office', keep quiet.
2. Nix the religious conversation as well. Politely ignore your mother in-law when she questions why you have crucifixes, statues of Shiva and Bhudda all in your home, peacefully co-existing side by side.
3. If certain estranged family members show up, do your best to be civil and polite. Maybe if they are willing to put aside differences for the holidays, you should be, too. Of course, the moment they become annoying pinheads, you are well within your rights to politely ask them to not ruin the holiday and act like a spoiled brat in front of their children.
4. Keep reminding yourself that they will leave at some point. The kitchen will be clean again, the wrapping paper will all be picked up and thrown away. Your house will return to normal at some point.
5. Most of all, let go and enjoy yourself. It's one night out of the year that you have to put up with this festival of idiots. Delight in your child playing with his cousins. Sit back with a glass or two or six of wine and people watch and just smile when anyone asks you how you're doing. They'll be out of there by 10PM tops, and you can sleep in tomorrow!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!
Lots of love