This is not a food recipe for special turkey or pumpkin pie. This is a recipe for a peaceful, conflict-free balanced and restful Thanksgiving or another upcoming holiday. Thanksgiving has the reputation for being the most stressful and conflict-prone holiday of the year. That’s a shame, but I am sure it’s due to stress of the long time traveling, way too much cooking and running around, big expectations, and forcing all your relatives to sit together and eat a huge meal.

Based on some well-known conflict management strategies, we can use constructive methods, and you can have a great Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or other family gathering.

Recipe for Peace:

  1. You’ll never please every personality or palate.  You’ll become weary trying to make the perfect food and experience for all your guests.   Many items are delicious made from the grocery store so let go of having to make all the items or change things up. If you are the guest, be flexible and adaptable. It’s a gift to be invited over, so make do and eat whatever is served or just pass on items you can’t eat.
  2. Commit to staying cool and letting disruptive conversation pass by.  Many of us are triggered by certain people, topics, or conversation.  If this happens, decide to release yourself feeling like a target or discussing things that are upsetting.  Practice a response in advance that is neutral, or if possible, take a break, get up and go outside or offer to do a chore, like the dishes. This will provide you a cooling off period. You can always leave early too if you are very upset.  Tell the host that you have other places to go.
  3. Avoid winning at all costs. If there is a debate or something is said that you object to or disagree with, you do not have to respond.  You can tell yourself “I don’t care enough about this to start an argument at Thanksgiving. This is only one day”.  Let it go. You don’t have to win and prove you are smarter or have a better idea.  You may cost others the peace they deserve at the dinner table.
  4. Spend time with a relative you don’t get a lot of time with normally. It might be an elder, a distant aunt or cousin.  Learning from their wisdom and experiences might be refreshing.   Be mindful and realize some friends and family experience sadness and loss at the holidays. Take perspective of how others feel and be a good listener.
  5. Remember what the holiday is for, and be thankful for being alive, having good health, and having the opportunity to eat and share with others.

Enjoy all the holidays and let there be peace at your house!