Ways to avoid holiday family drama, how to handle it once it starts

You may dread seeing family, in-laws, people you only see during holidays but psychiatrist, Dr. Asim Shah, with Baylor College of Medicine said it's just one day and sometimes the stress leading up to now is worse than actually spending time with them.

“Please don't do that because when you do that you're already making your spouse or other people defensive and then you have a bias, to begin with,” Shah said.

The most common mistake people make every year is talking about controversial subjects.

“The topics which are always bad: religion, politics, and money. Those three are the topics which you should always avoid because you never know where it's going to lead,” Shah said.

If things escalate out of control, he recommends not saying anything because you can't take back mean words.

Instead, he suggests you leave the room and practice deep breathing.

He also recommends bringing a token of appreciation to the host. A small gift can relieve the pressure before it begins.

“It's a little bit difficult for people to think but if you give somebody a gift they’re a little bit under obligation and they may not be as aggressive towards you because you have already tried to earn a favor from them by getting a gift,” Shah said.

As for social media, Shah insists people are mindlessly sharing stories, articles, posts, pictures all the time. Therefore, he said, it's not directed at you or intended to hurt you.

Therefore, he says not to take social media posts personally because chances are it really has nothing to do with you. If you're still convinced it does, he said to ignore it anyway. Bringing it up will only escalate controversy.