6 Ways to Avoid Family Drama During the Holiday Season

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Spending time with family can be wonderful and uplifting. It can also a big source of holiday stress, even for the most functional families! Being around family can dredge up resentments and send you back into old patterns.

I want to help you skip the drama (or handle it with grace if it comes up), so I updated this blog post with tips that I know will help a lot!

Why the holidays can bring on family drama

During the holidays, there are lots of reasons why family drama can flare up.

Tweet: You have a support system far greater than judgment. You have the unlimited love and guidance of the Universe. @gabbybernstein #judgmentdetox

For one, everyone walks in the door with their own issues and hangups. They may be feeling insecure about work or defensive about a relationship, or having a tough time in general. Plus, even the happiest family has old dynamics from childhood that can take over quickly.

Another factor is that everyone may feel pressured to get along. This pressure can actually put you on edge because you feel like you’re being inauthentic. It’s hard to have fun when your guard is up.

And finally, each person has their own expectations of how they want things to go. You might want a festive party while your sister wants a quiet dinner and your cousin wants to get into deep, personal conversations.

Some ways we get caught in family drama during the holidays

The times we're living in require our commitment to love. -Gabby Bernstein | Judgment DetoxIt’s easy to think that the drama is everyone else’s fault, but let’s take a moment to gently witness our own behavior. Ask yourself if any of these things apply to you when you’re with your family during the holidays…

  • Do you get into petty fights (regardless of who started them)?
  • Do you judge your relatives’ political views, the way they raise their kids, the food they eat, etc.?
  • Do you often feel like everyone is on your case and slip into a victim mentality?
  • Do you feel like you have to win debates, subtly one-up your siblings or get in the last word?

If you answered yes to any of these, you’re not alone! In fact, most of us do at least one of these things.

And when we’re really honest about it, we can admit that this behavior doesn’t serve us.

Sometimes a clash seems inevitable

Let’s get real: Many of us have family members who say or do things that enrage or devastate us. And even if it’s not that extreme, during the holidays you might be forced to sit around a dinner table with people you wouldn’t normally hang out with. You might have conflicting views and different ways of communicating.

In this post I’m giving you some tools you can use to avoid that moment when you lose your cool, forget all your spiritual principles and get yanked way out of alignment. And if that does happen, then these tips will help you come back fast.

6 ways to get along with your family during the holidays

Holiday dinner | Gabby Bernstein's 5 ways to avoid family drama during the holiday season

These six tips will help you avoid drama, clear judgment and focus on the good stuff so you can have a beautiful time celebrating!

1. Silently bless everyone

Before you sit down at the dinner table (or even before you walk in the door), say a little prayer for everybody. Pray for them to all enjoy their meal. Send them prayers to have a beautiful new year, and give them your love and your light.

The action of offering up that prayer and giving them a little bit of love puts you into a different energetic vibration. It elevates your energy by redirecting your focus. Instead of focusing on judgment, you focus on what you desire and what you wish for others. A Course in Miracles says that prayer is the medium for miracles, so trust that your energetic shift will be felt.

2. Shield yourself from negative energy

Miracles Now by Gabby BernsteinThis is a tip from my book Miracles Now. If you know you’ll be interacting with someone (or multiple people) who leave you feeling drained or depressed, then you can create an energetic boundary to keep their energy from affecting you too much.

Create these boundaries with love rather than judgment. Remember, we’re all doing the best we can. People who don’t have any energy awareness are not malicious; they’re just struggling to get by. So rather than blame them, simply become mindful of how you can support yourself. There are a couple of techniques I like to use:

Activate your shield of golden light

Before interacting with one of these people, you can envision a shield of golden light surrounding you and protecting you. Set an intention to activate your energetic shield before the encounter and trust that your energy field is being protected.

Pray to restore your energy

If the negativity hits you after spending time with someone, then you can recite this prayer: “I ask that any negative energy I picked up be removed, recycled and transmuted. I ask that any positive energy I may have lost be retrieved now.”

3. Practice EFT before the holiday get-together

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, is a powerful tool that we practice in step 2 of Judgment Detox.

EFT is a psychological acupressure technique that supports your emotional and physical health. It combines the cognitive benefits of therapy with the physical benefits of acupuncture to restore your energy and heal your emotions. You just use your fingertips to tap on certain energy meridian points on your body while talking out loud about the issue at hand.

If you’re new to EFT or prefer to have a teacher, cool news: I made a guided video for tapping on judgment! It’s part of my free 3-part Judgment Detox Mini Course.

Free Judgment Detox Mini Course by Gabby Bernstein

You can follow my guided tapping video to release judgment before a family get-together or after it — or both. Click here for instant access to my free mini course!

4. If you do get into drama, forgive yourself fast

It happens. Sometimes we get sucked into drama and do the thing we don’t want to do. We yell, we say something judgmental or we let someone else’s words wreck our good time. When this happens, the answer is to show yourself a lot of compassion and forgiveness.

Check out this lecture clip where I talk about how we can experience our screw-ups differently by forgiving ourselves right away.

Every moment offers us an opportunity to experience what A Course in Miracles calls the Holy Instant. The Holy Instant is the moment when you surrender your fear to the care of the Universe and accept the perspective of love.

If you’re having a hard time letting go or getting to that place of forgiveness, then check out this post. In it I give you three steps to go from anger to forgiveness when things boil over.

5. Focus on what you like (and love) about each person

Be willing to choose again -Gabby Bernstein | Judgment Detox quoteThis action takes the prayer practice from tip #1 even further. You can do this in the room, in the moment. Think about what you like about each person, even if it’s something small, like how your uncle always cracks a joke that makes you laugh or your sister-in-law DM’s you good recipes on Instagram.

Allow yourself to dwell in feelings of love for those family members you’re very close to. Think of all the things you appreciate about them and really feel that love and support.

There may be someone you have a really difficult relationship with and you can’t think of anything positive in the moment. That’s okay. In that case, think of a lesson you’ve learned because of that relationship and cultivate appreciation for that.

Seeing someone for the first time

This technique of focusing on what you like about everyone is a way of practicing Step 4 of Judgment Detox, which is to see someone for the first time.  The experience of seeing someone for the first time is one of deep relief. You free the person from the stories you’ve placed upon them and you free yourself from the bondage of attack. You’ll feel relieved because you’ll be returning to your truth, which is love.

If even for an instant you let down your guard and choose to see through the lens of love rather than fear, you will be one step closer to freedom!

6. Keep your side of the street clean by getting honest about your own judgment

The way out of judgment begins when you witness the judgment without more judgment. -Gabby Bernstein quotes | Judgment DetoxWe can avoid a lot of family drama by taking responsibility for our judgment and doing the spiritual and personal work to heal it. The way out of judgment is to witness your judgment without more judgment.

Getting clear about all the ways you judge will help you see your part and understand the root of each judgment so that you can heal what you discover. It might sound scary at first. But let me reassure you that this is a very empowering and freeing process.

You can start your Judgment Detox journey today by checking out my free mini course! In it I guide you through three core practices of the six-step method. My goal is to help you find relief fast and start feeling good!

Free Judgment Detox Mini Course by Gabby Bernstein

Click here to get started with my free Judgment Detox Mini Course!

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Ok, here’s some craziness … I’m listening to your video and trying to focus and soak in tips for how not to judge my family at an upcoming holiday event … but instead I’m multitasking: I’m searching on my phone for the podcast recommendation that I just heard about and want to check out. I type in “greatness”, no luck. I go to my amazon app and type in “lewis howe” because I know he’s the host … back to the podcast app … search “school of greatness” … find the podcast, latest episode is the interview with Gabby Bernstein!!! Then 10 seconds later, you open up your book and mention Lewis Howe on your video. Wow. Ok, a little reminder not to judge myself & not to judge others … love myself … the universe is awesome and so am I, the universe has my back, this is true for all of us 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful night Gabby & team!

  2. I have recently ordered your book and I’m looking forward to getting some help in dealing with stress from family gatherings. I always go with the best intentions but, come home exhausted and drain of all positive energy.
    Looking forward to my book arriving, I’ve read all of your books and watch and rewatch your videos when I need inspiration and support!

  3. Great blog Gabby! I hope I can remember some of the tools on Christmas day because I forget so easily plus not easy when the family drink alcohol they become different person.

  4. I’ve taken responsibility for my judgments and followed your advice. However, I have run into an issue. What does one do if a family member has not forgiven me (it has been 2 years already), despite my sincere apologies and genuine attempts to re-connect? I have been instructed by my family member, that if only I change my way of thinking to be like them, then they will “forgive.” I have let this go and surrendered the need to be forgiven to the Universe. Is this something you would do?

    1. Beautiful Amber. Spiritual surrender and detaching from outcome is an important part of forgiveness, especially forgiveness towards yourself and the situation. <3

  5. Just what I needed!! Thank you! My mother in law is coming for Christmas and I’m going to be practicing each step the whole time! You’re a life-saver.

  6. Thank youuuuuuuu very nice for this article. In with net fàily during holidays and all I want is to spend a peaceful, loving and happy time with them. This article will be of a great help to choose positivity and love above all. Forever grateful Gabby Happy holidays too

  7. All I have in the navk of my mind these hokidays is “ !Be the light!!”.. amd choose love every time.. when ai get hurt or feel judged the. i will choose to live … thanks!

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