Make your own choices. Have short visits and leave anytime you want. Get together somewhere other than your home; if you desire. You don’t have to accommodate people who don't want to be together by having separate events for them, unless you want to.
You don’t have to please anyone—only yourself. Decide what is best for you. You can say no, if you are willing to deal with the fallout, or you can choose to go along with things the way they are, if it is easier.
Change your expectations. Don’t expect people to be different than they usually are. If you don’t hope people will be different, then you won’t feel disappointed when they do what they always do. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (NIV). Expect the holiday to be less than perfect and it might be better than you think.
Change your perspective. A holiday is just another day. If it isn’t perfect, it isn’t the end. Media gives unrealistic expectations about what the holidays should be. Know that if things aren’t the way you want them to be, you can still make it through.
Stay out of the family drama.......observe it as a neutral third party. You will learn a lot about yourself and your family this way.
Don't take things personal. Say to yourself, “There he/she/they go again.” Recognize the hooks and hot buttons that usually get you to react and refuse to bite. Act as if you are not affected, even if you are.
Keep it simple. Use paper plates, (gasp!) have pot luck, let everyone serve themselves..........whatever will make it less stressful. Allow people to eat causally rather than sit around a table, if conversation tends to get tense. And, you don't have to buy everyone gifts, if you don't want to.......even if they buy you something. Just tell people what you are doing.
Don’t micromanage the conversations and interactions. People are responsible for what they say or do.........even if it is wrong. It isn’t your problem to solve. Let them work it out.
Remember the reason for the season. Jesus was born to die because relationships and people were so messed up. He came to redeem the very thing that is likely causing you to feel sad.
We don’t have the power to make other people be different, but we do have the power to control our choices, boundaries, reaction, expectations, and actions. This holiday can be different!