The Holiday's are just around the corner. This can be a time of great Joy or great Distress. Being prepared is our best defense to avoid conflict and chaos. Whether you are hosting something at your home or are going to visit someone else, plan how you will respond to situations that you know will, or may arise. It's also okay to not participate at all. If going to someones house causes too much stress then simply tell them "I'd love to come but have already made other plans". If there is someone you don't want in your home, you are not obligated to invite them. If you find yourself in a situation that you just cannot avoid, remember that you do not have to allow yourself to get pulled down the rabbit hole. Standard, canned responses are a must have holiday accessory. when someone offers unsolicited advice: Thank you for your input, I'll give it some thought. (you have acknowledged them without agreeing with them) if someone brings up something you did in the past: It doesn’t matter who I used to be. All that matters is who I have become. or There's a reason the rear view mirror is so small and the windshield is so big because where I'm headed is much more important than where I've been. Having responses ahead of time really does help. Once you have responded then politely excuse yourself, tell them "there's Uncle Charlie, I'm going to go chat with him for a while" or "Can't get enough of those wonderful hors d’oeuvres" Separate yourself from the person in a polite way. The main thing is to rise above whatever someone might throw at you. Remember, people say things to us expecting a reaction so don't give them the reaction they expect. Give them a response that will leave them scratching their heads wondering "what just happened". We know the people that like to push our buttons and we know how they push them. Being prepared, they won't even get close to the button. The internet is also a wonderful resource for articles on how to deal with holiday stress or dysfunctional families. Wishing you all a Holiday Season that is filled with love, laughter and blessings.