As some of Tampa Bay’s top attorneys, the team at Brooks Law Group is accustomed to being in high-stress situations, dealing tension between parties, and helping mediate and reason through differing opinions. We’re usually sitting around a conference table, across a desk, or even in a courtroom, but if this sounds like your holiday table when you gather with family, your celebrations must be anything but peaceful! We know that tempers can flare and discomfort can rise when you put many members of extended (or even immediate) family together, but that doesn’t have to lead to a ruined holiday meal every year.

If you’re already gearing up for a fight, or bracing for an afternoon of awkward small talk this Thanksgiving, we have a few tips to help you lead the way toward a happier, more peaceful, celebration with your family and friends.

  • Have realistic expectations and prepare accordingly. Simply wishing your family’s problems away won’t automatically make your holiday celebrations Hallmark-worthy. It’s important to keep your expectations realistic, even as you hope for a better time at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas extravaganza. Instead of wishing for a perfect day with no tension, perhaps you should instead adjust your focus to making sure you avoid the person/people who tend to be the most problematic or mentally prepare yourself to give generic responses to questions or discussions that might be upsetting. Family members aren’t going to change overnight, but your responses can!
  • Bring a few tricks to be the peacemaker this year! You might not be the “problem person” in the room, but arguments and poor behavior on the part of others does affect your holiday celebration. So what can you do? If you hear tension begin to build between others in the room, try to (subtly) interject yourself and begin a fresh conversation with one of the parties, begin serving drinks/food to everyone in the vicinity to break up the moment, ask for help with preparation/cleanup tasks, etc. Diffusing the situation is like putting cold water on a fire, and while it could continue to smolder off and on, at least it won’t turn into an annual explosion like you might be used to.
  • Use your own coping techniques. Sometimes you just can’t keep up a good face, and it’s good to know what to do when you feel overwhelmed or upset. Have a place set aside that you can escape to, even if it’s just excusing yourself for a quick walk around the neighborhood or down the street. Deep breathing exercises, a moment in the bathroom to call a friend or (non-present) family member for support and encouragement, or even graciously leaving early and retreating to your own home are all perfectly acceptable ways to handle situations that make you uncomfortable and are unable to be dissolved.
  • Make plans of your own! If you simply can’t handle the stress this year, don’t go! No one can force you to attend a family gathering that causes you grief and anxiety, and if your mental health struggles after these events each year, it might be time to step back and say no thank you to the invitation. Plan a trip just for you, or with a close friend or two, and celebrate the holidays with them this year! Or, host a “friendsgiving” and have your buddies over for a Thanksgiving meal of your own, complete with all your favorites.

We know that holidays can be hard for those who have family issues or strained relationships. We know those situations are often worsened when trauma and/or injuries from an accident are on the table as well. If you or someone you love is struggling with the ramifications of another’s recklessness or irresponsibility, but have no support in pursuing justice, we’re here to help. Brooks Law Group provides personal, caring legal services for clients in and around the Tampa area who are suffering from the effects of car accidents, the wrongful death of a loved one, an accident at work, and more. We believe so much in helping victims that we offer FREE initial consultations, and you don’t pay unless we WIN your case. Make your holiday a little less stressful with a call to Brooks Law Group and let us get the justice you deserve and the compensation you need.

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.