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Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 5:22 AM
— Maybe your family's not Norman Rockwell during the holidays or even the Griswolds. But do they have to act like the Sopranos?
Anyone who's unconcerned about gravy recipes and place cards but very worried about how to keep the brandy away from Uncle Ned so he won't get abusive or keeping mom from dropping poison remarks about deadbeat dads is probably poised for a holiday with toxic relatives. The thing is, there really are ways to make the holiday better, say a collection of encouraging experts, from leadership coaches to advice columnists. Here are six ways to face — and face down — holiday gatherings that involve toxic relatives:
Revise the fantasy holiday story. Unwittingly, even those whose relatives are 100 percent unacceptable in holiday situations somehow expect better, noted Martha Beck in Oprah. "Even if we don't consciously realize it, we want our families to cease and desist from all the things that affect us like fingernails on a chalkboard. We don't ask much — just socially appropriate behavior, dammit, and minimal reparations for the more damaging incidents in our past."
This mindset just sets you up for another dismal encounter, she noted. Instead, take a timeout before you meet up with your relatives this season. "Sit quietly and acknowledge what you wish they were like," Beck said. "Then prepare to accept them even if they behave as they have always done in the past. At best you may be surprised to find that they actually are changing, that some of your wishes have come true. At worst you'll feel regrettably detached from your kinfolk as you watch them play out their usual psychoses."
That can also mean stopping the "ideal holiday" narrative around friends and co-workers, according to Gabrielle Moss in Bustle. "For a long time, I lied. When I was around coworkers and acquaintances, I just went along with them, agreeing with everything they said about how stoked they were to go home, just because I didn't want to seem weird or make them feel uncomfortable." This year, Moss noted, is the perfect time to stop such agreeable dishonesty. "You can stress other things you like about the holiday (time off work, holiday sales, charming leaf piles), you can be totally honest, or you can just say that the holidays aren't a huge deal for you and leave it there," she said.
Consider (gasp!) staying away from the toxic family holiday. There may be a point at which you need to say "enough is enough" to the family holiday gathering, according to Bustle. "Is dutifully heading home for ritualistic carving of turkey, followed by cranberry sauce and nine hours of insults about how you're not doing as well as your brother, worth it?" Moss asked.
You can even consider a decision to boycott the family gathering as an act of love, according to Jezebel. "Sometimes it's just healthier and more loving to let everyone have their space, until a better time comes for sharing one space."
Set boundaries ahead of time. Decide ahead of time just how much time with toxic relatives at the holidays you can bear. Is the thought of a certain relative being at Christmas dinner a deal breaker? Are there other family folks you can tolerate in a group setting as long as you're not in their company one on one? Can you stay three hours, or is one the limit? Should you rent a car in case you need a quick getaway? It's crucial to answer these questions before, not during, a family gathering, according to Oprah.
Get the criticism out of the way ahead of time. If fault-finding is as common at holiday brunch as the breakfast casserole, see if you can't have a heart-to-heart ahead of time, recommended Cheryl Dellasega, author of "Forced to Be Family: A Guide for Living with Sinister Sisters, Drama Mamas, and Infuriating In-Laws."
You might explain it like this, "I'm not feeling that good about the holidays this year and it seems like we've gotten into this routine where every time I come home, we fall back into the parent-child syndrome and you're kind of looking at the things that I'm not doing. Maybe this year you could focus on what I am doing or just not even focus on me at all, because it's really a time when I'm wanting to be with people who love me and wanting to be in a nurturing, positive environment."
Let criticism slide. And if despite all your planning the criticism happens right at the table while the rest of the family is digging into seconds? Clinical psychologist Roni Cohen-Sandler recommended this tactic to Jezebel: "Laugh it off, 'Yeah, that's me!' and then let the comment slide off you as if you're Teflon-coated. Since this probably isn't the first (or last) time you've heard particular criticisms from particular relatives, remember that the comment says more about them than about you."
Douse the toxic behavior. Leadership coach Alicia Bassuk calls certain types of belligerent toxic relatives the "toxically insurgent" and noted that their typical toxic trademarks include condescension, judgmental, abusive or inappropriate remarks, embarrassing others or hijacking credit to turn attention back to themselves. She noted that such toxic people's remarks fall flat when others don't participate. "Fire cannot burn without oxygen, so don't give them any," she wrote for Oprah. "Your reactions and rebuttals are the air this type needs to sustain their flames. Completely refuse to respond to or accommodate them in any way, including isolating them from others whenever possible, unless and until they can conduct themselves with civil consideration. This is like putting a jar over a candle. Poof."
Published: Thursday, January 04, 2018 @ 5:31 AM
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina father watched his baby girl’s birth while he was in handcuffs.
The car was traveling at more than 90 miles per hour when several law enforcement officers started chasing Alewine.
He just kept going until officers eventually boxed him in and forced him to pull over.
They had Alewine in handcuffs when his little girl, Anastasia, came out with one push.
"I'm sitting there, watching her born on the hood of the car, fireworks going off in the background, because it's 1 in the morning on New Year's and then they let me out of handcuffs and all the cops started clapping and congratulating us," Alewine recalled.
The baby was born healthy, even though the mother went through a high-risk pregnancy.
Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 1:35 AM
LOS ANGELES — After a week at Mar-a-Lago with her presidential family, Tiffany Trump headed to California to spend New Year’s Eve with a very different kind of group.
The first daughter was a guest at a Los Angeles bash hosted by heir to the Playboy throne Cooper Hefner. The 24-year-old was photographed speaking to Hefner and posing beside his fiancee, Scarlett Byrne, as well as other friends, multiple media outlets reported, including the Washington Post, Page Six, People and the Daily Mail.
The event marked the first New Year’s Eve bash since magazine founder Hugh Hefner’s death on Sept. 27. He was 91 years old.
The late Hefner reportedly had wanted Marla Maples — Tiffany’s mother and Donald Trump’s second wife — to pose in his controversial magazine just three years before Tiffany’s birth. However, the actress turned down the offer.
“I’m thankful for my body, but I didn’t want to exploit it,” she reportedly said. “How would I ever be taken seriously?”
Published: Tuesday, January 02, 2018 @ 8:34 AM
— It’s the New Year’s resolution that everyone has and virtually no one keeps: We want to get in shape.
Here are 10 tips to help you keep on track:
If you made your decision on New Year’s Eve, that’s only making a decision based on your emotional state that day. Make a plan for big and small goals and particular parts of your body you want to target to help keep you focused. A health professional can help with this.
While you might be adamant that you’ll never eat bread, meat or chocolate chip cookies again, making that one of your goals is setting yourself up to fail. Instead, go for what’s attainable: Instead of having your favorite food three days a week, you’ll only have it once. Start small and build.
Despite all your best efforts, temptation will come knocking. Try to decide in advance how you will deal with wanting to skip that exercise class or have that piece of cake. This could include calling or texting a weight loss buddy, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your “bad” will affect your goal.
Wanting to live a healthier life is something to be proud of, not ashamed of. Don’t treat your resolution like a dirty little secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve.
With any luck, they’ll help you find a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution and can help you stay motivated.
Why is getting in better shape a good idea? Write down all the reasons that are motivating you, from wanting to be able to walk up the stairs without losing your breath to wanting to look better on the beach. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve.
It sounds like this list has more writing down than working out, but it is important to keep track of your progress. Being able to see where you were and how far you’ve come is an important way to keep yourself motivated.
For example, instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, focus on losing the first five. Keep a food journal to help you stay on track, and reward yourself for each five pounds lost.
Rewards are a good thing. Don’t think that because you’re losing weight, you have to become an ascetic. Instead of going out to eat to celebrate a milestone, treat yourself to new fitness clothes or by going out to a movie.
Exercising and working out won’t become good habits overnight. By Tuesday of the second week, all the newness will have worn off, and it’ll start getting harder to get up and get moving, especially if you’re exercising before work.
Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. Get through that first three-week stretch, and you’ll be making real progress.
It’s not the day missed at the gym or the indulgence in ice cream that’ll knock you off track – it’s the obsessing about it afterward.
Negative thought patterns won’t help maintain your positive plan. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time.
Maybe you hit the Valentine’s Day wall – or even the Jan. 15 wall. But that’s not a reason to give up.
Start with one meal, then one day. You can do anything for 24 hours. Once you start building on the 24-hour increments, before long you’ll be back in the groove.
Published: Sunday, December 31, 2018 @ 12:04 PM
Updated: Sunday, December 31, 2018 @ 12:04 PM
— The thought has probably crossed your mind: someday I'll spend New Year's Eve at Times Square in New York City.
You'll be part of that massive crowd as the whole country watches and counts down to the moment the crystal ball drops. With your friends or significant other, you'll toast the New Year with champagne and, just maybe, one of those TV cameras will take notice and your faces will flash across screens throughout the country.
It's a lovely dream, but the reality? New Year's Eve in the Big Apple means shelling out big bucks on hotels rooms, which need to be booked well in advance. On top of that, if you want any shot of being close to the center of Times Square when that giant crystal sphere falls, you'll have to stand for hours and hours in the cold ahead of the big moment.
It will certainly be memorable and it's a worthwhile bucket list item. But if you didn't plan ahead, don't feel like making the effort or simply want a less mainstream New Year's Eve experience, there's a lot of other great cities to consider.
Here are our five suggestions, all of which are sure to help you bring in 2018 with lots of crazy memories:
The Windy City offers all the excitement and fun you need this New Year's eve. From exciting parties to unique concerts, you'll definitely find something up your alley. For those interested in an epic party, check out the gala at the Congress Plaza Hotel. Canadian electronic duo Adventure Club will also be headlining the Reaction New Year's Eve event at the Aragon Ballroom, for those wanting to party it up at an EDM bash. And if you're looking for the perfect way to mark the start of 2018, swing by Navy Pier for the spectacular annual fireworks display.
Austin is one of those up-and-coming cities that everyone is talking about. So, why not check it out while welcoming 2018. You can bring in the New Year in roaring 20s style at Gatsby House, or party it up at Maggie Mae's Neon Party. For a more family friendly option, check out the city's event at Auditorium Shores. Fireworks go off at 10 p.m., so you can enjoy them with the kids and then go out for a night cap after tucking them in.
New Orleans, Louisiana
It may not be Mardi Gras, but New Orleans promises to be lively as ever on New Year's Eve. Not to be outdone by the Big Apple, the city drops a fleur-de-lis at midnight in Jackson Square. Leading up to the big moment, you can enjoy live music and then ring in 2018 with a giant fireworks display. After midnight, swing by the bars of the city's famous French Quarter to welcome the new year with a toast.
Where better to welcome the New Year than at the most magical place on Earth? Disney World's Magic Kingdom will never disappoint and offers fun for the entire family. For those wanting to catch the Disney magic without shelling out big buck for park passes, Downtown Disney offers great views of the castle's fireworks, and you'll only have to pay for parking.
If you can't wander far this holiday, no worries! Atlanta definitely knows how to ring in the New Year. Don't miss the city's iconic midnight Peach Drop. A slew of concerts and other parties will also be happening throughout the city.
Regardless of where you end up this New Year Eve, make sure you're surrounded by people you love. Whether you're in Atlanta, Chicago or the Magic Kingdom, the people you're with will create the most special memories.