Are you wondering whether your longstanding family dynamics at the holiday dinners are going to scare off your daughter's new boyfriend? Do you want to take the family conversation up a notch or two this year and talk more than turkey? Are you tired of stuffing the bird and ready to pass the proverbial baton to the younger generation? Use the following tips that apply specifically to your family situation and begin to create new holiday rituals:

1. Make a conscious decision to put aside misunderstandings and differences so you can enjoy the family time together. Arrive at dinner with an open mind, no complaints and an accepting heart.

2. Before the meal, begin a general conversation about gratitude. Have your children and your parents talk about what they are thankful for and how expressing these kinds of feelings can become a part of their daily lives.

3. During dinner, deepen the discussion by encouraging family member to identify their core values. A core value is about being, not about doing. For example, you may set a goal of being a more secure and satisfied person rather than one of having a lot of money. Decide to live up to these standards by taking action and create a more congruent way of life.

4. Pause to the positives of others - talents, skills and character traits - as well as your own. Serve as a role model for your extended family as you openly acknowledge these personal attributes and strengths.

5. If you're ready to be a guest instead of the host, make this holiday a rite of passage. Whether you're edging your kidults out of the nest or taking a well deserved respite for yourself, begin to shift the responsibility of family get-togethers to the next generation.

6. Pass on the family legacy. Let your adult children know how much you value keeping the family close. Teach by example as they watch how you lovingly take care of your own aging parents.

7. Encourage the younger members of the family to preserve the old traditions and give them your support while they're creating customs of their own. Remember to express your appreciation as they develop new family and holiday attitudes.

Whether your emerging adult children decide to create new-wave sweet potato recipes or cook the turkey in the microwave, it's now out of your control. Sit back and relax - all you have to do is agree to pass the gravy.

© Her Mentor Center, 2006

Author's Bio: 

Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. & Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. are founders of “”, a website for midlife women and “”, a Blog for the Sandwich Generation. They are authors of a forthcoming book about Boomer women and family relationships and publish a FREE Newsletter, Stepping Stones, through their website.