MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Let’s be honest, by now someone in your house for the Thanksgiving holiday is getting under your skin.

Surviving time with our relatives can sometimes be more work than cooking the big meal.

That had us wondering, now that the holidays are in full swing, how can we keep the peace with family?

Good Question.

When the Rulli’s get together a little back and forth is to be expected.

“I have an Italian nose and an Italian family,” Lino Rulli said. “There’s drama every single day of my life.”

While it provides perfect fodder for his show, “The Catholic Guy” on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Rulli knows by now how best to deal with the cast of characters in real life.

“My aunt Judy always got a story to tell, but my aunt Marian is a huge gossip. Then we have cousins. We all like each other but need to get in each other’s business,” Rulli said. “Uncle Bob. He’s gone organic. So he eats all organic and brings an accordion with him.”

“The thing that’s helped me the most is alcohol,”  Rulli said.

Bill Doherty is a Family Social Science Professor at the University of Minnesota.

“The best way to do the holidays is to have high hopes and modest expectations,” Doherty said.

“It’s a season of joy and hope, and when we have family together some things are going to go wrong,”  he said.

Doherty says we should avoid trying to change our relatives at these gatherings. Politics and religion should be off limits.

He added that we shouldn’t be afraid to take a break. Doherty believes a walk around the block can go a long way.

“The only awkward thing really is when cousins bring over extras, plus ones, like now who is this one?” Rulli said.

“We tend to marry outside our families, right? Just when we teach our kids how to do the holidays right they bring in someone else,”  Doherty said.

The experts don’t think differences in tradition are worth a big fight, but Doherty says what is important is keeping an eye on the holiday host.

Most often this can be the person who melts down.

“That person needs support at this time. Needs participation and not complaint,” Doherty said.

“Everybody in the family gets a bottle of wine,” Rulli said.

“It helps to ease the discussions we have,” Rulli’s mother said.

Or, when wine doesn’t work, the Rulli’s have learned prayer just might.

Liz Collin

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