Holiday Survival Basics

Family Time: Know Your Boundaries

First, take into account points of stress or contention in previous years. Sibling rivalries, heated political debates, clashing personalities, the stress of hosting a large group: Anticipate these things now, and pave your survival path to avoid them.

"When families get together, memories and dynamics of the past begin to resurface," says Francine Karim, a therapist in East Lansing, Mich., in an article from The "The holidays bring it all out. If you're the hero of the family or the family victim, it all gets played out."

Another idea? Go away. Seriously. Is there really a rule that you must be with family for the holidays, or does it just feel like it? Weigh your options. If getting out of Dodge isn't an option, at least find time to slip away and have some time to yourself or with your spouse and children.