About This Book

Nearly everyone thinks their own family is "nutty" or has at least one or two nuts. With 101 stories of wacky yet lovable relatives, funny foibles, and holiday meltdowns along with more serious stories about abuse and outbursts, this book is usually hilarious and occasionally poignant. Readers will feel comforted, amused, and encouraged by these unforgettable stories about "nutty" families just like their own. This book shows readers that we all have the same family matters and what really matters is families. It is a quirky and fun holiday book, and a great bridal shower or wedding gift!

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Five Tips for Learning to Enjoy Your "Nutty" Family

Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters

By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark and Susan M. Heim

Foreword by Bruce Jenner

Nearly everyone thinks their own family is "nutty." With 101 stories of wacky yet lovable relatives, funny foibles, and holiday meltdowns, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters is usually hilarious and occasionally poignant. Here are a few tips to help you understand, appreciate, and get along with your quirky family.

1. Sometimes the best thing to do is laugh. Being in an uncomfortable situation with a family member is sometimes unavoidable. When Gail Eynon took her eighty-two-year-old grandmother-in-law to a friend’s birthday party, she got more than she bargained for — a male stripper. Gail was surprised to see delight in her grandmother’s face as the stripper began to dance. "I don’t know which was more embarrassing: seeing the young man’s almost-nude body or watching Grandma ‘let her hair down’ with the net still in her hair." She had "everybody in stitches," as she deposited her last dollar bill in the stripper’s skimpy costume, and declared that she "was looking for change."

2. Be resourceful. When living with a big family, creativity is the best tool for dealing with unexpected dilemmas. Linda Apple’s husband Neal, father of five, cleverly chained his brush to the bathroom wall as a solution to his children taking it from his bathroom nearly every day. This didn’t leave his youngest son, William, many options when it came to styling his hair so William resourcefully used the only thing resembling hair gel in sight, Vaseline. This caused an unruly hairdo, put oil in his hair for days, and the brush with an unexpected greasy surprise for Neal the next morning.

3. Appreciate the small things. Vacations with your family can be a disaster, but they can also give you something to laugh about and newfound gratitude for your everyday life. Susan Farr-Fahncke’s family camping trip was full of mishaps: a folding chair failed her, an unintentional fire erupted, and her family was attacked by bats. To add to the mayhem, Susan caught her behind on fire while lighting her children’s sparklers. When the trip was over, the family was able to take away wonderful memories they will be talking about for years to come, and they had a new appreciation for the smaller things in life, particularly sturdy chairs.

4. Don’t take yourself too seriously. When Helen Polaski, a well-known local news reporter, found herself stuck on a water slide wearing hot pink denim shorts, she had to set her pride aside. She was forced to wiggle herself free in front of dozens of spectators. "I could just see myself gracing the front page of my own newspaper — a bright pink object stuck on a big yellow slide in the middle of a hill, exposed for the entire world to see." The pink shorts were intended as an attempt to retain some dignity because they offered more coverage than a swimsuit, but in the end they caused more embarrassment than the alternative. All Helen could do was laugh at herself and wish her sister, who had also been at the water park that day, was the one wearing the bright pink shorts.

5. Sometimes you just need a hug. Hosting a holiday at your home can be incredibly stressful. In Mitchell Kyd’s case, it was her family’s first Thanksgiving in their new home and she felt an overwhelming need to make everything perfect: the food, the house and the conversation. When it all got to be too much, she took it out on her son. "I don’t remember what my son asked me as he was trying his best to finish the vacuuming, but I do remember twisting into that mean-and-tight mom-face before barking out an angry answer." In response her son simply gave her a hug, which seemed to be exactly what she needed. That hug helped her to remember what the holiday was really about and they had a wonderful Thanksgiving that year, celebrating all of their blessings.

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