I originally published this post on Thanksgiving day, 2011. I realized, a little too late, that publishing a survival guide to Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving was a bit like waiting until you’ve been captured by the enemy to teach you how to use your weapons. So, being a whole year wiser and being the smart puppy that I am (ok the second time around. Shaddap!), this year I’m giving you ample time to prepare yourselves vibrationally for the day of giving thanks, which apparently requires ample amounts of Turkey, Ham, Duck or the newly discovered and possibly mythical but almost certainly intestinally challenging “Turducken“.

And, since I know that you’re FREAKING BUSY preparing for said dinner, I’ve done you the solid of recording an audio version of this post as well (now you have even more to be thankful for. You’re welcome). I suggest you download it to your iThingy and listen to it on a continuous loop until T-Day, if for no other reason than that it will drown out the screeching of the arriving relatives and mute that voice in the back of your head that keeps wondering why you didn’t just stay single and move to India to meditate for the rest of your life, like you wanted to in college. I know you know what I’m talking about.

An LOA Survival Guide To Thanksgiving And Other Holiday Minefields.mp3

Click (or right click) on the link to download the mp3

Thanksgiving is in two days. I know, I know, not all of you live in the US, and if you don’t, please forgive my blatant catering to my American side. Just bookmark this blog post for whatever family gatherings they have in your country. No one has a monopoly on awkward family bonding. Actually, I’m one of those people not living in the US (I live in Barcelona, Spain). To me, it’s really just another day, but to over 50% of you, it’s a special day, a day off from work, a day of football, a day of permission to stuff your face until you can’t breathe, then pop the top button of your jeans (if you were careless enough not to just wear sweatpants. Psh, amateurs) and eat some more. It’s also a day where the entire nation (and to Americans, that means the whole world, *snort*) takes a moment to say “Thanks”. Now, some people take that a little more seriously than others, but generally, the intention is to have a warm family meal where everyone sits around, lovingly holds hands and states something that they’re thankful for. Then, everyone hugs and somewhere a puppy gets his wings.

Yeah… that’s the plan. The truth is that reality often looks quite different. Your family, who hasn’t gotten along in years, doesn’t change just because you’ve decided to have a nice day together. In fact, close proximity to each other tends to bring tensions out more than ever. Tempers flare, pumpkin pie gets thrown, someone inevitably dramatically stomps out of the room, hissy fits abound, and everyone wonders why the hell they put themselves through this every year. Because it’s tradition. Duh.

Well, I’m not going to tell you that you should skip Thanksgiving this year. Your mother would never forgive you. And besides, you really, REALLY like stuffing and you don’t care if you have to pay for this once a year treat with a pound of flesh, it’s freaking worth it. But I can give you some guerilla survival tactics based on the Law of Attraction that may well help you save your sanity and may actually help you to not only survive, but use this powder keg of an occasion to do some healing.

Before dinner – Preparing for battle:

You cannot go into a situation this volatile unprepared, unless you want to experience the same thing as last year and every year before that. Now, of course, it’s possible that you’re part of one of those rare families where there are no tensions and Thanksgiving is just another occasion for a wonderful family meal. If you are, let me just warn you: Everyone else wants to smack you right now. In the back of the head. With a 20 lb. turkey. In a frying pan. For the rest of you, here’s your game plan before you face your family:

  1. Put down the frying pan. The only reason that guy’s family isn’t fighting on Thanksgiving is because they’re all on really good drugs. Probably.
  2. Make sure you have some time alone, where you hopefully won’t be disturbed. Don’t lock yourself in the bathroom, people will bang on the door if you’re in there too long. And if you’re a male, you’ll spend the rest of the day listening to masturbation jokes.  It’s your call.
  3. If you have time, start off with a little meditation. 10-15 minutes will set you up nicely for the rest of the day and will make the next steps much easier. If you don’t have time, just spend a couple of minutes breathing deeply and thinking of something that makes you happy, like butterflies, puppies, chocolate, your favorite sports team crushing their opponents, whatever.
  4. Spend a few minutes focusing on each family member and their best qualities. Yes, I’m serious. Start with the person who’s easiest to adore and work your way up to the more difficult cases. As you get into the vibration of appreciation, it’ll get easier for you to find positive qualities for even your most annoying relatives. These can be little things. Remember, this is much more about YOU changing YOUR vibration then you trying to change them. So, work your way into a space where you can actually appreciate something about each of your family members.
  5.  Take the next few minutes and appreciate yourself. What do you like most about yourself? What do other people tend to like most about you? Family gatherings tend to hit us hard in the self-esteem department and spending a few minutes feeling strong and capable can do wonders for our ability to withstand backhanded compliments later in the day.
  6. Imagine yourself with your family. You’re all laughing and having a good time. If someone says something confrontational, everyone sees it as a joke (or, alternatively, at least you see it as a joke.) You don’t take anything they say personally and you have a fantastic time.
  7. Last, but not least, imagine yourself surrounded by a bubble. You’re safe in that bubble and no one can hurt you. It’s filled with a bright, white light. Now, expand that bubble to include the entire room you’re in. The whole space is now filled with this white light. Next, expand the bubble some more to include the entire house or apartment. Everyone that’s inside the bubble is protected and safe. Everyone is affected by this amazing love. Fill the entire house with this feeling of appreciation, adoration and love and stay in that space as long as you can.

During dinner – staying alive

Ok. It’s time to face your family. If you took the time to do the preparatory work, it’s going to be a much smoother ride than history would have you believe. Try to stay in a place of appreciation. Focus on each family member’s positive traits, and don’t allow yourself to start bitching about them, even in your head.

Here’s your game plan:

  • Be an observer. Don’t just react to whatever happens or gets said. Observe. Try to figure out why your Uncle Bill always complains about politics (he’s not happy, he thinks he’s powerless to do anything about it, and it’s easier to blame the politicians than take responsibility for his own feelings) or why your Aunt Mimi always subtly but nastily criticizes your mother’s cooking (she’s always felt inferior to your mother.) Try not to judge what you see, just observe. By doing this, you’ll never take anything they say personally, but instead, you’ll understand that they are all just doing the best they can with their own personal crap (we all have crap).
  • DON’T POKE THE BEAR. You’re not there to solve anyone’s problems. If you were, it wouldn’t happen during a family gathering. So don’t become the sanctimonious bastard who tells Uncle Bill that his hate of politicians is only a reflection of his feelings of weakness, unless you’re looking to get punched in the face, which will almost certainly mess up your own vibration.
  • Stay positive. If everyone starts complaining about something, don’t chime in. You can even try to steer the conversation to a more positive place, but don’t try to make too big a leap. Also, sarcasm doesn’t work here. If your father is bitching about his horrible job, idiot boss and lazy coworkers, it may not be the best idea to brightly declare “at least you have a job, daddy!” or snidely mutter “gee Dad, aren’t you supposed to be thankful on THANKSgiving?” But if you keep it real, and compassionately say “Wow Dad. That sounds pretty rough. Is there anything at all that you like about your job? There must be something…” you may be surprised at how he’ll let you lead him to a more positive place. I do this all the time. A lot of people seem really negative, but they’re not actually all that stable in their funky vibration. They’ll easily come to the lighter side (incrementally) if you light the way. Even if you can’t influence anyone, don’t allow them to influence you. Don’t add fuel to the fire by joining the pity party or complain-athon. Just stay in your happy place.
  • If you find yourself getting pulled into your family’s emotional sewage pit, excuse yourself and walk away. The most important thing is that you keep you vibration up, that you feel good. Being right, getting someone back, defending yourself, getting your digs in – none of those things will actually make you feel truly better in the long run. Walk away and hit the reset button.
  • If all else fails and you do find yourself getting sucked into the crazy, just ride it out. It’s one day. Don’t beat up on yourself for not staying all Zen. You’re facing one of life’s most difficult and volatile situations. You get points just for trying.

The Aftermath – review and evaluate

I know Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving, for the non-Americans amongst you) is traditionally reserved for shopping and leftovers. But no matter what happened the day before, take a few minutes to evaluate what happened. How did you react? Did you get upset at any time? Did you react in a way that you’re not too proud of? When we get around our families, we tend to turn back into children, so some of our reactions are less than mature. Did you find yourself getting angry? What were the triggers?

Our families are our most valuable mirrors – they will show us things about ourselves that no one else will. You can hate them for it or you can use this information to dig up some beliefs and fears that aren’t serving you. If you blew up like a volcano when your dad made a crack about your wardrobe, that’s a clue. Maybe you’ve never felt that he approved of you, period. Does he trigger a low self-esteem issue? Does he bring out this side of you often? Take a bit of time to dig around in your own psyche and evaluate why you reacted the way you did in any given situation. This doesn’t just have to be restricted to violent outbursts, either. If you felt some tension when someone said something, or wanted to defend yourself, those are clues too, even if you never said a word. Any negative emotion you experienced is your indication that something’s off.

Ok, so I could’ve done a piece about how we’re all supposed to give thanks all the time and not just on Thanksgiving. But there are already a million of those kinds of blog posts out there and I figured you may be better served with a survival guide. Was I right? Let me know in the comments! Or, share your own survival tips for the holidays? How do you stay a happy shiny puppy? And last but not least, what are you going to be grateful for this Thanksgiving/Thursday?

Last but not least: Happy Turkey Day! And if you’re not in the US – Happy Thursday! I’m super grateful that all of you have found me. Happy Shiny Puppy Hugs to all of you!!

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  • Oh my gosh, I love this! Regretfully I’m just reading it now. Thankfully, I did most of the things on your lists anyways 😉 And I survived quite well! Great post.

    • Yay Susan! So, it sounds like you didn’t really need it, but manifested the blog post because it was nice for you to get some validation that you did it right. You did. 🙂

      Huge hugs,

  • Melody,

    Thank you for the tips. I always look forward to these holidays, and now having a girlfriend that means more minefields to conquer. But most of the time it works out well.
    An uncle of my girlfriend is always negative and cynical, and I really hate that. But a friend of mine gave me the tip, to just talk and act towards him in a friendly and compassionate way no mathe rif he’s nice or not. That way he doesn’t ruin your meal or day and most of the time they soften a bit, because they see I am always friendly and nice towards them no matter how rude they are.

    It takes some practice, but it really works.

    Have a good one,

    • Hey John,

      That’s a great tip. The key is to really pretend, so that you feel ok, instead of just outwardly pretending and inwardly gritting your teeth. If you can manage to do the first, his behavior will have to change or he’ll have to get away from you. And yes, I agree, it totally works. 🙂

      Huge hugs!

  • You know, I almost skipped this post completely cuz I figured my little family get together wouldn’t have any drama. After all, it was just me, my kids, my sis, mom and hubby. Mom cleaned frantically the whole time (didn’t stop her as I could see it made her happy) while I cooked and my sister got drunk. I then had to be referee cuz she’s a mean drunk! Sigh, shoulda just read the post but better late than never. I did take a few breaks throughout the day to practice gratitude and enjoy nature for a few minutes 🙂 Thanks for the post!

    • Hey Marjorie,

      You know, I’ve found that as I do this work, I often notice things so much more and differently than I used to. So, your mom probably always cleaned obsessively and your sister didn’t just become a mean drunk this year. But you’re different and you’re more sensitive to what’s going on. So you notice things differently. 🙂

      Huge hugs!!


  • I read the Survival Guide post and then all the replies, esp. Tony’s and got some good insights from everything. I did agree with Tony’s viewpoint to an extent and thought the Survival Guide didn’t go far enough (for me), such as when you find out that a family members triggers a self-esteem issue, etc. Then what? I, myself, have exercises, etc. which I do to address that, but would love to see more discussion about it. I would think so many people reading this might no further info on how to address issues in a simple way and I would be curious what you do. What I do wouldn’t work for everybody, so it’s important to get different points of view. By the way, I think I related to Tony because my family is about halfway in extremes between the Survival guide view and Tony’s. I definitely hear what he’s saying and going to take it into my consciousness for my own T-day tomorrow when I expect a difficult day (based on what’s happened today with family member). All in all, great post and discussion!

    • Hey Laura,

      You’re so right. It’s really useful to cover the whole spectrum (that’s why I love the discussion in the comments…)

      So, what is it that you do to address the family conflict?

      Huge hugs!

  • Hi Melody,

    with all the respect, I understand your effort to help people who feel powerless but I disagree with the whole package. Yes, it’s good to love people, but love for the sake of love is just another excuse to be taken advantage of or to feel small.

    I’ll tell you my opinion and perhaps somebody might find something helpful.

    {“Well, I’m not going to tell you that you should skip Thanksgiving this year. Your mother would never forgive you” }
    She will forgive you. It’s your mother. People, find an excuse and stay out of hell. That’s not escape, you are not bad because you don’t want to be blood donators to dedicated energy vimpires. It’s not bad to stay out of hell because we are unwilling to witness how insecure we are without those blood suckers. Cut the birth cord for Christ’s sake. If she is such a nasty person, then forget about her whole existence and move on with your lives, or prepare to do just that. The kind of thinking that “this is my mummy and I should not turn her down” it’s just another excuse we use, not to admit that we don’t have the courage to be confident enough and say “Hey,that is wrong, enough is enough”.

    {“If someone says something confrontational, everyone sees it as a joke-or, alternatively, at least you see it as a joke”}
    That’s taunting. Taunting’s point is to demoralize you. If that thing gets you angry, don’t pretend that it’s raining. Someone you respect is spitting in your face. They have smelt you are a loser and they do it on purpose. Otherwise they could have said something different(and perhaps more kind). People are not idiots. They see if that thing bothers you or not. They just don’t care. Until you are strong enough to change your perspective, get out. You don’t want more things to erode your self esteem and be grateful for that.

    {“Try not to judge what you see, just observe. You’ll understand that they are all just doing the best they can with their own personal crap (we all have crap)”}
    No we don’t all have crap. At least, we don’t all throw our crap to others. And they are not doing the best they can. They have just surrendered but they think they should keep on leading-that’s the true ego. There are still people who remain patient and silent and wait until someone remembers that we are all human beings who deserve some respect. Never forget: Judge people by what they believe. If they believe that sarcasm is not acceptable for their ears and they try to persuade you that it should be acceptable for you, they are just trying to deceive you. It’s good to know that this kind of deceit should not make you change the way you look at your self, but don’t lie to yourself.

    {“Wow Dad. That sounds pretty rough. Is there anything at all that you like about your job? There must be something…” you may be surprised at how he’ll let you lead him to a more positive place”}
    It was his responsibity to remain in a positive place at first place and have the guts to defend his attitude and the members of his family. It’s not your job to behave like a parent to your parent. If he was NOT good enough to stay strong, it’s NOT your job to uplift him and tell him lies. There’s nothing he likes in his job. He’s not stupid. He knows that. If there was something, he would be satisfied. It’s your job/time to lead now. Will he allow you to do that. In the case we are examining, NO. They subconsciously know that if they let a more energised person to take the lead, then changes are sure to happen and none likes that. They will have to face their insecurities, so if you are here reading that, chances are that your father(and environment) project their insecurities on you.

    Make no mistake guys. If you are feeling small or insecure or powerless among the people who are supposed to love and support you, your compassion will take all your certainty away. Try to say NO with compassion and see what will happen.
    A human being or a God who sees that his creations or children are afraid or confused and condemns them or punishes them and throws all responsibility to them, instead of hugging them and give them courage and love, is not worthy of any attention or respect or obedience. It’s a being that clearly lacks the knowledge to get closer to his creations and direct them to the light. Admitting more responsibilty and feeling more guilty will not help. Something is going wrong.

    Enough with the excuses, that’s just another ordinary day. We have made that day a big day only in our minds. If you suspect it’s not going to end well, stay safe and plan your future, harnessing energy to change your beliefs and face the truth-not spending it to pittyful and meaningless conversations. Don’t even suppose for a moment what others might think of you. If they love you, they’ll understand.

    I hope I didn’t sound too aggressive.

    • Tony, I see your point. Of course we should not put up with lower vibrations of any kind and should avoid such situations for our own good. After all, in LOA, you must be selfish and do whatever makes you feel good and serves you. If you really care how you feel, then you would not expose yourself to bad situations and stay away from them. I understand why the masters isolate themselves to raise their own vibration and keep it there. Of course, people will not understand this. I ran this past my dad last month and he criticized masters for knowing all that stuff and not helping their fellow man with it. But then I said how can they help their fellow man when their fellow man is not willing to listen? Anyway, it would have turned into a debate about the caste system not allowing for it, etc. so I closed the subject. I continued to feel good, because that is what I do, but did not want to participate in a heated debate because I was not interested in that.

      The above post is very useful when you find yourself in those situations and how best to deal with them. Of course, we always have a choice not to go, but if and when we do, how best to handle it. If we keep working on our own vibration, though, all these situations will naturally disappear and things in general will mellow.

      • Oh yeah, it’s not even really selfishness, but more like self respect. If you truly respect and deeply love yourself, you would not subject yourself to situations or people that do not vibe with you. But what happens with self love? Not sure- it gets trampled on, when that is the most important, if not the only thing we need to have and focus on instead of sucking the life out of each other.

    • Hi Tony,

      I get the sense that you are applying this post to the dynamic of a very abusive family. I was not writing from that perspective. This was aimed at the normal families who generally love each other, but are filled with drama.

      I’d like to address a few things and clarify them:

      {“Well, I’m not going to tell you that you should skip Thanksgiving this year. Your mother would never forgive you” }
      There are people who have drama filled families who want to spend time with their families but don’t want the drama. In that case, I would not suggest that they just stay away from their families (which is not what they want), but to find a way to spend time with them but make it more pleasurable. That’s what this post is about. If someone’s family is abusive, that’s a different story.

      “Your mother will never forgive you” – that was a joke. This whole post is filled with humor.

      {“If someone says something confrontational, everyone sees it as a joke-or, alternatively, at least you see it as a joke”}
      I didn’t mean that you should make fun of your family, but detach from the comment in your own mind and get a different perspective. Assuming they meant is as a joke instead of a nasty comment helps to take the edge off. I didn’t mean to imply that you should taunt your family. How would that be in line with our inner being?

      “Judge people by what they believe.” – I teach non-judgement. It’s about how YOU feel, not about them. People tend to judge each other very harshly during the holidays. When we try to see it from their point of view, we can often feel better in the process. It’s not about condoning abusive behavior. In my posts addressing abuse, you’ll notice that I always advice getting out.

      {“Wow Dad. That sounds pretty rough. Is there anything at all that you like about your job? There must be something…” you may be surprised at how he’ll let you lead him to a more positive place”} – the idea here is to create more harmony, not more discord. The idea is not to start a fight and be right, but to see if you can come to an understanding, perhaps bring your dad to a more positive point of view.

      Bottom line, we are essentially saying the same thing, I think I just take a much, much softer approach. Not everyone is feeling 100% powerless and needs to resort to such anger. If one does, that can be very healing. But many people are looking for a way to tweak the details. They don’t want to separate from their families, who are essentially good people, if annoying, they just don’t want so much drama. There’s no reason to kill a fly with a sledgehammer. 🙂

      Huge hugs,


      • ‘There’s no reason to kill a fly with a sledgehammer.’ —-but it would be really cool! 🙂

        I would actually love to borrow Tony for certain events, not Christmas, as there’s really only 1 annoying family member, and when you avoid them, the other mildly annoying one comes into line…you just have to mentally delete that one single person. The rest are quite jolly, so I guess it’s not too bad.
        Just before I knew about vibrations, that one rotten apple used to spoil the barrel. Now I know their game.

        Tony could sledgehammer that one single person for me. Ah, now I feel positive. 🙂

    • Tony, Alice “liked” this post. *thumbs up*

      Pretty intense and as Melody said, it’s assuming the family is really bad, but still some awesome points. I’m sure someone will find it useful if their family were that extreme.

      You’d be really handy Yang energy to compliment a very Ying person. You could be that guy that steps in when the little guy is being stepped on.

      • Do you know the kind of families where the father is cruel and mommy with kids are terrified?
        That had nothing to do with my family.
        I whished my father would have slapped my mother in several occasions. Or a punch with a special focus on the chin (or nose, I don’t care, as far as she remains unconscious and silent). When she was making a list of everything, and I mean everything that could possibly go wrong, he pretented to be the wise guru who can afford to put up with any kind of adversity without raising his voice. End result: Both diagnosed with the same cancer in bones at the same time. He is dead, she still makes our lives miserable at any given opportunity. If I hadn’t left home, I would probably be insane right now. Why society doesn’t have laws about women’s gashlighting?

        • Hey that’s weird, I didn’t get an email about this.

          I’m really sorry to hear the loss of your father.

          I’m sure that after seeing him silently suffer, you would put a high value on authenitic expression, because from that perspective you see what happens when people hold all the rage inside and let it eat at their bodies.

          Rage can also be destructive, so it seems like your journey would be to find the middle ground.

          Your father did what he thought was the best, from your anger, it seems you might think that he backed down, or wasn’t tough enough.

          You can’t really judge another persons manifestations, so we would never know all the reasons why someone would have cancer.
          The unexpressed anger might only have been one piece of the puzzle.

          You cannot ever get him back by trying to make up for this by being tough or expressing your own anger or resentment towards others, or even your mother or women.
          No matter how you are, you can never make up for that, or compensate, or balance it out.
          You have your own life to live now, your own personality, and you don’t have to let it be forever marred by the loss of someone you loved.

          I see that both women and men gaslight, its not a honest tactic either.

          I’m glad you were able to leave home, and find your own way. You will continue to heal, and find that middle ground.

          Thanks for your candid reply.

  • That’s quite a depressing topic for me. I’m thinking about Christmas. The last 4-5-maybe even as far back as 6 years or so I have something against Christmas. You heard me.

    It was lovely as a child. I was spoilt rotten, received many gifts, played with the new toys with the sibling I liked, rang up friends and compared notes, felt excited, ran around in the street and enjoyed the rest of my school holidays. It was a time of riding bikes in the school holidays, a time with lots of friends, good health and a family that loved me.

    Older family members were still alive and it was all about the kids, getting stuff, playing with that stuff and having fun and games with the adults, the adults that bought and cooked everything for you.

    When you realize Santa doesn’t exist *opps life plot spoiler* it’s still fun as a teenager to an extent as your younger sibling that you like still gets excited, you still get gifts, you still get school holidays, but not nearly as many friends.
    You are no longer considered cute anymore.
    Your family doesn’t really think that much of you anymore either. Big overgrown kid, ripe for kicking out and getting a job already.
    You’re 16 right? Hurry the hell up!

    Then there’s a bit of relief. You start dating, there some fun injected back into X-mas. You are in love so everything feels great anyway. When you are in love you could be in a dumpster and you wouldn’t care.
    At least that’s me. Love is so important to me. “The greatest things you’ll ever know is just to love and be loved in return.”

    So you are still obliged to stay with family, but you get to ring up your lover and he has a nice gift for you, he thinks you’re cute and he has lots of love and hugs and fun things to do.
    You can sneak away after lunch, and feel much better, Christmas for lovers.

    Then those puppy loves end, you are out of home on your butt, and it’s all about work, study and stress.
    Adult life, just as they eagerly warned you about. At first coming to Christmas is sometimes nice. Nice food, some gifts, a family reunion with that family member or two that you like.
    But that little poop head that has something against you stares at you during the whole meal, wrecking the joy, with their poopy poopness.

    Its all very awkward conversation, stilted conversation, and once the food is done…you don’t really have anything to do with them.

    In fantasy land you all get along, play a board game, ride bike together like old times, play a drinking game, there’s some lovable aunt or ancle that tells great jokes, there’s lots of love and happiness.

    In reality it’s some horrible trigger of lost childhood, how old you are, another year lost, and feelings of loneliness.

    And the shops insist on playing high-pitched carols and ridiculously happy tunes just to invigorate your pain! 🙂

    BA-HUMBUG! So now you understand why in a months time, I won’t be happy about Christmas, in fact it gives me anxiety attacks, because I had goals to achieve this year and I didn’t get any of them done.

    I kinda wish we had thanksgiving in Australia, because we’d turn it into a holiday to appreciate a drink with our friends.
    Oh dear…I can see the fail in that too. 🙂

    • Hey Alice,

      Again, it’s your choice if you want to focus on the negatives or the positives. That’s the whole point of this post. You are already anticipating that you’ll hate the season. You are doing your best to create it that way. Stop that. Anticipate how it might be really fun this year. Make up a different story and give all of your attention to that. Stop looking for ways to hate it and start looking for ways to love it. It really is that simple (not easy, but simple).

      Huge hugs,


      • Did you ever consider that being all BA-HUMBUG in a psuedo-grumpy way is actually quite fun?

        I know, I just needed a hug. It’s not the season, its the marker that the year ended, and just one single person of irritation.

        The only flaw I can see in this is that person is very strong in their annoying, judgemental vibration, and my happy one is unstable and not yet perfected, as I go up and down all I deliberately try to raise it.
        It hasn’t taken root yet, so I fel mine is less stable than theirs and that means theirs trumps mine.

        It’s not defeatism (though it sounds like it) it’s years of trying to jolly my way over them, but they are there, staring, like a struck cod.

        On the positive side, some relationships have ended, so our token douche vegan (every gathering has one, the one that has to judge others too) won’t be herem, so thankfully only one jerk instead of two.
        The douche vegan also got into political and diet conversations…for heavens sake, I’m TRYING to indulge. 🙂

        CGreat post. You captured, “good family with drama” perfectly. That’s all it is.

  • Tina, thats a great idea!! Would you mind if I adopted it for my family?

    Thanks Melody for a great post, I love your sense of humor!
    I have been consciously working on not reacting to any ‘niggles’ catalyzed by family members for quite a while, when I noticed that I was acting like a big kid around my sister (and not the fun-loving kid, the annoying kid). So its heaps better now when we all get together. Thanks for all the tips, they will make even old Uncle Tom easy to be around (you know, the creepy uncle-by-marriage that thinks it’s funny to crack-on to you and your younger sister? No? Just me then….hmmm).

    • Hey Charlie,

      You mean the creepy Uncle Tom as portrayed in the image? 🙂
      Thanks for your kind words and for adding your experience here. It really does work. We can have a much better time with our families.

      Huge hugs!

  • Melody,

    This post is frickin’ hilarious! Thanks for the many lols.

    My family already celebrated Thanksgiving this past Sunday and all went quite well. But while reading this post an idea for Xmas popped into my head. Reading the part about focusing on each family members best qualities reminded me about the story of a classroom of students writing a nice thing about each classmate and the teacher compiled them all for each classmate. I think I’ll do something like this for my family. As a gift to each family member, I’ll make a list of how they have been a gift to me and all their best qualities, make it pretty, frame it, and read it allowed for everyone to hear. It could be the start of a new tradition.

    Thanks for helping me access that idea. I am so appreciative of you and your work!

    • Ooh, I love that idea, Tina! You could even start early and ask everyone to participate, ask them what they like about each person and then include the answers! What a wonderful Christmas gift!!

      Thanks so much for sharing! And thanks also for the kind words. 🙂

      Huge hugs,

  • Seriously…all of what you mentioned in your post is why my daughter and I are not doing anything for Thanksgiving except going out to eat and then seeing the Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 movie. (I can order the turkey dinner and she can order spaghetti…and then we both order popcorn)! Please understand…I don’t believe in avoiding difficult situations all together (i.e. family); but as you’ve mentioned over and over…we all have a CHOICE in what we bring into our lives. I just choose peace, harmony, love…and no turkey leftovers!! Happy Thanksgiving, Melody. You’re awesome!! 🙂

    • Hey Janet,

      That sounds awesome! You get to make whatever tradition you want, sweetie, and that includes the tradition of no drama. My mom and I have totally changed Christmas dinner. It’s just the two of us here in Europe, and so we went from a baby Turkey one year, to a chicken, to chicken breasts, to veggies and rice (I went vegan). And you know what? We were happier for the change. The meals got lighter and lighter, we didn’t feel so stuffed, and no leftovers to clean up. I’m not dumping on a nice Turkey dinner. I’m just saying that we get to do what we want and it can actually turn out just fine, without feeling like we’re missing out on something.

      Happy Thanksgiving right back atcha!

      Huge hugs, my dear.


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