Cozy Family Time
In the spirit of the cold weather, I want to tell you a story. It is about a place up in Vermont where we would go skiing every year. This place was a tiny 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath condo, with a loft area packed with twin sized beds. I think space must have been a little over 1,000 square feet altogether, but I was small back then so I might be overcompensating. We would pack in 13 people into that space. You read that right, we could sleep 13. Well, maybe only 12 when we got rid of the bunkbed downstairs. This condo had no cell service. It had only 2 TVs, one of which had about 10 channels. I am talking about the 2000s here, not way back when. So, with 13 people, 1000 square feet, pretty much one tv, no cell service, and 1.5 bathrooms, that is a tight space. It would also be freezing outside when we would go in January.
This is an extreme environment. Putting 13 family members together like that for a reunion is absolutely crazy. But, I am sure you are all getting ready for your own holiday visits and I thought this would be a good perspective change. From that experience, here are my tips for a cozy family reunion!
1. Have allies.
Maybe it’s your sister, or your cousin, or your aunt. Have someone who you are besties with so you can hang out together when everyone else gets annoying. Because they will get annoying.
2. Have your own thing.
When you do want to go and hide away, make sure you bring something that you can do on your own, like reading a book. Something that won't make you bored if you do it for a long time. You never know, you might really need a couple of hours away.
3. Do your share.
Be respectful of everyone and their time. Offer to cook once, clean up after yourself, pitch in to do the chores. If you all do your part, then no-one will feel like they are the only ones doing all the work. Again, when emotions and tensions run high in a tiny space, it never ends well.
4. You are the center of your universe, not theirs.
That’s just how life is. We literally see the world through our own heads, so we are the center of our universe, but don’t expect other people to see your point of view. Give people their space, and let them be them.
5. Don’t pile on.
We have all been in the situation where someone says something and we all start piling on in the conversation, making fun of someone, or something. Well, save that for when you are not all cooped up together in a tiny little area. If feelings get hurt, there is really nowhere to run or hide. And you definitely don’t want to be on the receiving end of that.
6. Don’t talk about it.
You all know what I am talking about. Politics and religion have no place in a tiny house. When the distance from the dinner table to an exterior wall is only a couple yards, the saying applies to the whole space. It is fine if you and your uncle have a little beef, but this is not the vacation to talk about it, maybe try reconciling when you are on a beach, with plenty of space to run away.
7. Watch out for your health.
No-one wants to hear you complaining over and over again about how you don’t feel good, or something is injured. Even more so, no-one wants you infecting them with your germs in this small area. Watch out for your health. Make sure you are washing your hands and doing all the necessary prep work to make sure you and the people around you stay happy and healthy. If you do get hurt, try to keep the complaining to a minimum…
8. Handle your habits.
We all have bad habits, but if yours are particularly annoying to other people, try and handle it for the duration of the trip. For example, don’t drink excessively. 7 of you don’t need to be fighting over 1 bathroom. And when people drink, they get loud. Loud people can be annoying. Get the idea?
Try and keep your emotions under control as you navigate this small and complicated space. Be flexible with your time. Maybe the hot water runs out after 3 showers and you happen to be the 4th. Maybe just change your schedule to wait a few hours, or shower in the morning. No worries, it’s all good.
10. Get creative.
Get a game of Charades going, or Pictionary, or a card game for a large group. Get creative with activities you can all do together to pass the time and make sure there is positive energy filling the space.
Doesn’t that sound fun! It can be and it will be. This year, seeing your family will be an amazing experience! Well, maybe only if you all keep these things in mind… family! Am I right?
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