Family drama?  How to keep your sanity intact while on vacation

Family drama? How to keep your sanity intact while on vacation

We all know that the holidays can be either the most magical time of the year or the most stressful.

From heated political debates with the family to overloaded calendars with back-to-back holiday parties, this time of year could spell chaos for just about anyone.

Moms With a Mic’s Julia Bagg sat down with Kid Create Studio owner Kenerly Wright and marriage and family therapist Monica Snyder to discuss simple strategies for maintaining your sanity this holiday season.

According to Snyder, it’s all in the planning.

I’m already starting to look at the next six weeks and I notice, okay, what can we actually witness? I’m already starting to buy presents and wrap so that Christmas Eve isn’t a crazy night,” Snyder said. “If we start looking now at what’s coming, making a plan as a family, it will make your vacation more relaxed and it’s easier to say no to those things that may not matter or that will cause stress and make the holiday season less enjoyable.”

Planning activities or buying tickets in advance for many holiday events can not only make for a less stressful season, but you can also save a few bucks in the process.

Brightline has just launched its Polar Express train for the holiday season,” Wright said. “If you shop early and get those tickets early, you can actually get a better price on them compared to waiting weeks or even days before. So really it helps us plan and helps our pockets too.”

Snyder also suggested that one way to ensure a more enjoyable holiday season is to set clear expectations with family members about what the holiday will be like, when the event will be, and what special needs you have. respond during this time of year.

“The internet has allowed us to have these really idealistic expectations for the holidays,” Snyder said. “Expressing these expectations is going to be very helpful for the family to meet them. »

When having a heated or difficult discussion with family, Snyder recommended a practice she called pressure release — taking a moment to pause and diffuse a situation without adding pressure or intensity to the situation.

“As a society, we’re so triggered by people and what they say instead of being able to stop and listen,” Snyder said. “And sometimes people start a conversation and we already have a hypothesis about what they’re going to say and where they’re going and we feel the need to respond. Whereas if we stop and listen and we just understand where they’ we’re going to see that there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing. And because we’ve been able to stay calm and we’ve been able to listen, we can actually have a nice conversation, whether we’re from agreement or not.

Wright noted that it’s also important to remember that children also perceive these interactions as they occur.

“You really have to think about why you’re there and that it’s family time,” Wright said. “Consider the time or place now? What kind of example are you setting for them? What are we showing them in the way we talk to each other or how we engage?

By staying calm and setting distinct boundaries while on vacation, communication between loved ones can be smoother and less stressful.

But despite the busyness of the season, one thing that can add to the craziness is getting the kids involved in the holiday cooking.

Bagg, Snyder and Wright all got into the kitchen this season and shared simple yet delicious recipes you can make this holiday season with your own kids. Remember that clutter is part of the fun.

Julia’s Easy Green Bean Casserole


  • 1 can (~10 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 cups cooked green beans (fresh, frozen or canned)
  • 1-1/2 cups fried onions, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine soup, milk, salt and pepper in 1 1/2 quart casserole dish
  • Stir in beans and 1 cup fried onions
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until warm
  • Stir
  • Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup onions
  • Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown

Wright Family Pizza Recipe


  • Fresh Pizza Dough – The Wrights usually buy folded dough from Publix in the open fridge in the bakery aisle. (You’re going to want to leave this at room temperature for about an hour before you start making it)
  • 3 to 4 oz. pasta sauce
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella per pie (ball or pearls)
  • Meat fillings (desired quantity)
  • Vegetable toppings of your choice (chopped or diced mushrooms, bell peppers (any color), jalapeno peppers, red or white onions, spinach and tomatoes)
  • For the crust: butter, garlic powder and dry Italian seasoning


  • Preheat the oven to 415 degrees
  • Open folded dough on a non-stick pizza pan
  • Use a fork to poke small holes in the dough to prevent air bubbles from forming
  • Using a pastry brush, spread an ample amount of pasta sauce over the dough
  • Then add your meat. *Seals better if you put it under the cheese rather than on top
  • Spread the cheese all over the pie
  • Add the vegetables on the pizza on top of the cheese
  • Roll the edges of the pizza inward to create the crust *Be sure to tuck the dough in so the crust stays in place
  • Then use the pastry brush to coat your crust in butter.
  • Sprinkle garlic powder and dry Italian seasoning over crust. *You can also add this dry seasoning on pizza for extra flavor
  • Finally, place your pizza on the middle rack of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Let the pizza cool for 5 minutes.
  • ENJOY!

Information on special diets: The crust can be replaced with a gluten-free dough and the meat can be sautéed for a delicious vegetable pizza

Snyder Family Apple Cider Donut Recipe (Courtesy Raddish Kids)


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla


  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray donut molds (if using individual silicone, place them on a baking sheet)
  • Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and 3/4 tsp cinnamon in a medium bowl
  • Heat the butter in a microwave-safe bowl until melted
  • Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk until smooth
  • Add the brown sugar, apple cider, vanilla and melted butter to the egg and whisk until combined
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients
  • Fill the donut molds until they are almost full
  • Bake 15-17 mins
  • Heat the remaining butter until melted
  • Mix sugar and cinnamon together
  • Flip the molds and remove the donuts
  • Dip both sides in the butter then in the sugar and taste

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