Tips for a Peaceful (and Thankful!) Holiday

Thanks to Harville and Helen Hendricks interview

with Leslie Barker of the Dallas News

As the holiday season quickly approaches, we thought it would be a good way to re-share our tips to make holiday conversations enjoyable and conflict-free

Listen and become curious.

If someone says something we don’t like or have a strong reaction to, we tend to go in “fight mode” and begin attacking and/or devaluing the other. The “conversation” then can quickly spiral downward. To offset that, try mirroring and repeat back what you heard them say, “If I heard you correctly, you said…” Then check to see if you got the information right, “Did I get that right?” and ask for more, “Is there more about that?” When there is no more, and you can really see the sense they are making, share your perspective on the topic. We need to learn to let other people be different and accept them. We can coexist feeling differently.

Avoid criticisms of each other.

If you think someone might not need an extra slice of pie, keep that bit of information to yourself. Our golden rule is: “No shame, blame, or criticism. Ever.”

Lighten up.

You can’t feel anxious and laugh at the same time. With that in mind, invite everyone to share something funny they read or witnessed or experienced recently. The Thanksgiving table can quickly be filled with collective laughter.

Show appreciation.

Go around the table and have everyone say something appreciative about someone else. Energy follows attention. What you focus on is what you get. The more you focus on things that are positive, the more that feeling grows in relationships. Appreciations bring safety. Safety invites connection.

Practice control.

It all starts with the brain. The lower brain reacts. The middle brain processes feelings and memories. The upper brain problem-solves. You can control which part of the brain you’re speaking from. It takes practice to not respond negatively when you are feeling reactive. But practice makes holidays peaceful.

Final Note

From the home of Barb and Dick Ivey to yours,