Make the Holidays Great Again

The holidays are here again and I think we need to revisit last years newsletter about this topic and see how we are doing. Are you stressed out? Worried about family gatherings? Fretting about how much money you are spending? Are family members pressuring you? This is not the holiday spirit. Maybe some of this can be avoided.

Let’s be proactive, parents and couples can avoid some of these pitfalls by pre-planning and communicating. As a couple each of you might have different expectations and this can be challenging so talking about what is to come can avoid the conflict. This needs to be done in a way that is nonjudgmental so your partner does not feel attacked and get defensive. Remember there are a lot of emotions tied up in the holidays. Here are some areas that should be discussed.

Family: How are we going to handle family? Where will we be on the holiday? Who will talk to the family and tell mother or mother-in-law that we may not be able to make it this year? Make sure that you listen to each other and come to a solution that you can both live with, remember you are on the same team and there needs to be compromise. And what about your immediate family, your children, will they get to celebrate at home? Are they the focus? Hopefully they are not seeing the holidays as a time of stress and anger.

Making it special: Talk about how to make it special for your family. You may want to start your own special traditions. What makes the holiday time unique for your family? It can be a magical time for children, you may want to look at lights or pick out your own tree. Make a special meal or dessert. What ever your special thing is you can make it your own.

Finances: What about the money? How much can we spend? It is easy to get carried away but it isn’t worth the stress and strife that comes in January. Can we make some baked goods or something more personal to lesson the cost and avoid the mall? Talking about this ahead of time and sticking to the plan can avoid conflict.

Busyness: There are so many events to go to. Holiday parties of friends or at work. The children might be in a school performance, church activities, so many things to do that we get overwhelmed. You and your family need to decide what you will agree to and what you will say “No” to. It is alright to say “No”.

It is better to experience this time of year as a team, united and in agreement. Taking the pressure off and knowing your partner is with you. Talking about what you want and expect ahead of time can avoid conflict and stress this holiday. Let’s get back to the true spirit of the season and make the holidays great again.

By Lisa Strong