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3 Ways To Enjoy The Holidays In The Family Business

By Kyle Danner

Consider the following ideas when getting together with your family members:

1. Avoid business talk – The business is what the family knows best and it’s an easy habit to fall into. However, turning holiday dinners into business meetings leaves in-laws and guests out of the conversation. As hard as it is to believe, they probably won’t share your enthusiasm for your latest business ventures.

If you’re not sure what else to talk about, try these conversation starters:

  • What is one of your favorite holiday memories?
  • What do you most admire about [pick one family member]?
  • What is one of the most helpful lessons you learned this year?
  • What are you most thankful for?
  • What are you hoping to accomplish in 2019?

If conversation isn’t your strength, consider playing board games. It’s an easy way to make small talk. They can be simple like Uno, Scrabble or Dominos or something challenging like Monopoly or Clue.



2. Redirect rather than engage
– Family members are tempted to push each other’s buttons. They just can’t help themselves. To be honest, neither can we. Rather than respond as we typically do (we are creatures of habit after all), try this instead:

  • “I’m not sure what to say to that” then pause for the other person to reply. Saying nothing will feel impossible, but remaining quiet takes the pressure off you.
  • “Why talk about something that will just upset both of us?”
  • “We know we won’t change each other’s minds so let’s talk about something else.” Redirecting rather than engaging stops the potential for another round of tit-for-tat that does nothing but frustrate everyone. Remember, redirection is something new and family members will follow old patterns. It may take a couple of attempts before your loved one takes the hint.

3. Take care of yourself – Holidays are stressful enough. If your family’s business is holiday-oriented, like retail or restaurant, it’s even more so. And if your fiscal year ends on December 31st, that’s a whole other level of stress. At the risk of sounding like your mother, be sure to get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, and drink plenty of water. Schedule time now to see a movie, binge-watch your favorite show or simply go for a walk. If it’s in your calendar as an appointment, you’ll be more likely to honor it.

With a little planning, the holidays can be pleasant for everyone, in and out of the family business. Best wishes for an enjoyable season and a prosperous New Year!

Worried about reaching your goals in the New Year? Download my free guide, The Ideal Life, for simple exercises and tips that will help your family business achieve its objectives.