Have you been naughty or nice this year? Most people want to be nice at all the family and business gatherings around the holidays. When you think of being nice, it often means avoiding any potential conflict. Too often, that backfires and creates more chaos. Here are three ways being naughty can actually bring more peace this Christmas.
One, set a limit on alcohol consumption. Nothing wrong with some Christmas Cheer, but too much cheer can lead to a disastrous family or business gathering. I have far too many memories of my grandfather drinking too much, making a scene, leaving with my grandmother and mother crying. Not many peaceful Christmas memories for me. Now, you might make some people angry by creating limits on consumption. Hey, I would rather deal with a little conflict up front than a chaotic gathering with no cheer for anyone! If you find it too difficult to enforce, then appoint the family or business party “bouncer.” Step one of naughtiness. Set limits and enforce them. Your guests will actually appreciate the boundaries. You have created a “safe” zone for fun and friendship.
Second, set a boundary on conversation. No politics or religion. These are the two famous topics that can create flash points. Now your gathering may consist of guests that one of these topics is not a problem. The idea, create a safe place where people can relax and learn more about those present. You typically know the guests well. Set a boundary on whatever is most helpful. At a work party, no conversations about work. Your family or guests may think it a little corny, but giving your guests a few questions as conversation starters can help guide the evening in some delightful discoveries of each other. This can even be true of family gatherings when people know each other well. For many family gatherings, extended family can be present that are only seen occasionally. There is much catching up to do. The idea? Be naughty enough to create some safe space for wonderful conversations of discovery and connection, not flash points that can lead to uncontrolled outbursts.
Last, invite people into difficult conversations before the holiday. Be naughty and courageous enough to help family, friends, or co-workers to work out differences before the conflict erupts at the gathering often spoiling the event for all. At Genesis, we create peace. I have personally helped family members, co-workers, and people with any and all types of conflict that are keeping them from peace during a time of year when peace, love, joy and hope should prevail. I particularly remember a conversation with a friend who had been dismissed by his former employer. He had no peace for the entire year. I asked permission to help give him peace for Christmas. This opportunity is usually not available to most, but in this case with a non-profit, we had a chance to gather with the board and the individual to gain insight, clarity, apology and forgiveness. All gained more peace. Want more peace? Sometimes you must be naughty and courageous to have the difficult conversations to clear the air, and sometimes, achieve real reconciliation.
May we all create more peace this Christmas!