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How to Handle Conflict During the Holidays

Charlotte Medina


How to handle conflict at home during the holidays.

It is that time of the year again. After a tumultuous 2020, it feels like the state-of-affairs begins to loosen up a bit after the elections, and people are getting in the mood to celebrate the holidays. We have begun to see more ads on TV and online about sales but also warnings about gathering to celebrate due to the risk of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Although it sounds contradictory, being that many people have experienced a sense of loneliness during the quarantine, there are many others who feel a huge sense of relief in knowing that now they have a very legitimate reason to not visit family. I am sure we can agree that we all have some loved ones with whom we prefer to keep social distance… But! If you end up visiting family or celebrating with those you already live with, here are some tips to avoid conflict at home during your holiday dinner. 


Plan for a short stay.

If you are traveling out to see the in-laws or family with whom you already have a history of not getting along, plan to stay no more than two days. And if possible and affordable, rent out a hotel room where, not only you will have your privacy, but also your space. It is better to keep interactions cordial and short, where there is a higher probability of spending more time in laughter and joy than allow more time to go by and lead to an argument.


Avoid talking about politics and social issues.

We all have our beliefs and individually, we have topics of interest that we like to talk about, but it is way better to choose trivial topics or start conversations about matters that cover a more intersectional set of the population (that means people who are not only of our generation, such as our parents and grandparents, and also who do not share our political or religious beliefs). Perhaps (even though we might be a little bit burned out about this subject already), talking coronavirus and how people have remained healthy. Although if you are someone like me who has lost someone to the virus, perhaps it’s better to leave the topic off the table. Talk about food instead!


Stay present.

Despite the marketing tactics, every way popular culture has depicted the holidays, and even the history of these, these special dates were meant to be regarded as a time to take a break and be thankful for what we have: our health and basic needs. Let that be a reason for everyone to keep their heads ups and stick together during these challenging times. It is lovely to have close relationships with others to celebrate with, and it is not worth fighting.


Remember that these are only tips! Ultimately only you know your experience and relationship with your family and/or roommates. We all have our flaws and hanging out altogether for a special dinner is only temporary. Stay positive, and if you find yourself in a sticky situation, remember that “this too, shall pass.”


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