As holiday season commences, some of us are filled with dread rather than joy. And the number one reason: family.

What is it about the holidays that bring out the best and the worst in relatives?  These days should be filled with gratitude and pleasure – but if you come from an argumentative bunch like mine, they became more like “hellidays” – obligatory events where we sat in tense limbo, counting down the hours until we could part ways.

For many families, it comes down to personality conflicts and boundary issues.  Learning how to get along with difficult relatives may not be an easy task but it can be done.  

For example, one of the big dramas in my own tribe is the subject of politics.  Once we start discussing the latest election or hot political topic, an otherwise friendly day turns into a screaming match (we are passionate about politics – and VERY divided in our views).  

With the current election moving behind us, the vibe is still potentially explosive.  So I decided to use one of my favorite spreads that I use for challenging relationships.  This easy spread uses three cards: one to represent each person involved plus another card for advice.  (I’ve also used this for more than two people – simply pick another card for each additional person.)

I’m going to use myself and my brother as an example (we tend to get into the worst political discussions and I’m already anticipating that this Thanksgiving we’ll both be touchy):

The cards I pulled: 9 of Pentacles for me; The Tower for him; Death for advice.  

Me: 9 of Pentacles – I had to laugh when I pulled this card because the woman looks so smug in the picture and she’s surrounded by her creature comforts.  Thanksgiving is being hosted at my house so I’m on home turf. And I’m feeling pretty self assured because “my guy” won.  Energetically, this card is relaxed.  Easy to be when you are on the “winning” side.  

My brother: The Tower – big time upset.  This card accurately reflected my brother’s reaction to the election results.  He feels humiliated, defeated, and emotionally, he’s in a vulnerable and possibly hostile place.  Rut roh.

Notice the difference between the two cards – one side is quite comfortable while the other sees the world crumbling.  Right off the bat, this tells me that the energy for Thanksgiving has the potential to be explosive!

Advice: Death – it’s time for me to transform my tendency to gloat into something of a higher nature.  My own personal attitude needs to go and I need to approach this holiday with a clean slate.  It may be time to detach from my own mindset of “winners vs. losers” and instead release my identification with political party lines and focus on the Thanksgiving party instead.  Should the subject of politics come up, change the topic.  Be bigger than that old me.  Time to grow up.

This reading made me recognize my immaturity (yes I admit it – I can be “that” person) and lack of compassion for my brother.  I’ve always considered him to the pot stirrer when it comes to politics but I see clearly that I potentially may be creating a nasty vibe if I get too smug this year.  It’s time to change that meme and focus on harmony and good food instead (something we both like!). 

I also decided to pull a card for each holiday for general advice:

Thanksgiving: 2 of Pentacles – Find the middle way.  Energy may be changeable and hectic.  Seek balance and harmony today.  Delegate responsibilities.  Find a way to accommodate other people so that everyone feels taken care of.  Listen and be willing to go with the flow.

Christmas: The Empress – Focus on the well being of others and let nurturing be the theme.  Make sure loved ones are pampered well.  Be abundant, generous and gracious.  Use your creativity to pull together a loving and beautiful atmosphere.  Indulge children and be as giving as possible.

“Family quarrels have a total bitterness unmatched by others.  Yet it sometimes happens that they also have a kind of tang, a pleasantness beneath the unpleasantness, based on the tacit understanding that this is not for keeps; that any limb you climb out on will still be there later for you to climb back.” ~Mignon McLaughlin

A couple of non-tarot tips for harmonious holidays:

  1. Set rules and boundaries before hand.  
  2. Encourage a climate of respect.
  3. Keep controversial subjects off limits.
  4. Agree to disagree for one day. 
  5. Sit people at the table next to compatible folks.  Don’t put two haters next to each other.
  6. If some people cannot get along, consider separation.  Yes, two holidays.  It’s not ideal but better than a bicker fest.
  7. Be a loving, gracious example.  (I intend to follow that last part to the T.)

Here’s to a happy holiday season to all!  May your days be filled with harmony and joy!



© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2012

I’d love to hear how you handle family drama during the holiday season.  Post your stories and solutions in the comment section below:


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