How To: Tips for Surviving the Holidays with Family

The holidays are the perfect time to get in some quality time with family. For families who don’t live near each other, it may be one of the only times during the year they get together. Renting a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains can be a great way to get everyone together, whether it’s just immediate family or a big group of extended relatives around the country.

And while enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas meal, an Easter brunch, or a fun 4th of July barbecue with the family can be great, we all know that holidays with the family can also bring with them certain stresses. Planning, packing, paying…it’s all a bit tougher with several family units.

Thankfully, we have some fantastic cabins in all sizes that are great for family events. Pick a 3-5 bedroom cabin if you’re traveling with 1 or 2 families or check out our large group lodges that have enough space and amenities for multiple families. Find everything you need to keep everyone fed, rested, and entertained – without being cramped on top of each other.

Parents can enjoy private retreats with spa-like bathrooms, grandparents can take advantage of first-floor bedrooms and easy access, cousins can play games together, and extended families can reconnect after a long time away. And our Smoky Mountain properties go way beyond the conveniences of home. They really pack a punch, with everything from games and private indoor pools to movie theaters and sprawling decks.

You can easily browse our properties by amenity or size, finding just the right spot for your family gathering. Give us a call or browse online, and we’ll help you find the perfect place for you next family holiday.

And beyond a place to stay, we have some tips on how to enjoy (survive sometimes) the holidays with family and make your holiday gathering as seamless as possible. Read on for some easy ways to make this holiday season with loved ones one to remember – for all the right reasons.

Have realistic expectations for yourself and others.
With so many people to feed and keep happy, it can be easy to overextend yourself. Know what you’re able to do and be willing to delegate – for your mental health. Ask family members to pitch in with the meal or decorating. You can even do some prep work the night before, so you aren’t trying to do the entire meal for your family function in just a few hours.

Let go of control.
Family is tough sometimes. And because they’re family, you know that. Go into the holidays knowing that you can’t control others. Try to be understanding of each other’s differences and, even more, embrace them. Things that could drive you crazy could easily be turned into a hilarious family memory with the right attitude. Remember that there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen (figuratively and literally), and it’s okay if you’re not always the one in charge.

Be flexible.
The holidays don’t always go as planned. Actually, they very rarely go as planned. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Be willing to eat at a different time, crack open that pre-made pumpkin pie if yours doesn’t turn out, or let the kids leave the table and just run around a bit instead of finishing their green beans. Remember there are changing family dynamics – so be dynamic with your thinking.

You may also have others who have specific requests for the menu. Be willing to mix it up, even if you love coconut in your sweet potato pie and your aunt hates it. The more flexible you can be with food, schedules, and family – the better.

Build in some downtime.
As with almost anything, too much of a good thing is bad. It can be tempting to pack your holiday getaway with activities every minute, but downtime creates some of the best family memories. Work some downtime into your schedule so you can enjoy peaceful moments (and maybe a nap) after your meal. You can play board games, watch the parade, and just enjoy family time without any plans.

Practice self-care. 
With all the holiday time together, you’re sure to experience some burnout. Between the holiday celebrations and the focus on family relationships, don’t forget to take some time to yourself. Listen to a podcast, sip some eggnog with a good audiobook in a quiet corner, step outside for a phone call with a close friend, have a nice bath…just take a time out for YOU.

Have fun – outside of the cabin.
While our cabins are packed with amenities, it’s important to get out for a bit as well. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge offer SO MUCH to do, whether you want to check out a dinner show, break out as a family at The Escape Game, ride roller coasters, shop, grab a bite to eat, or explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visit our blog to find ideas for any group!

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