Well, it’s official! The holiday season is upon us. I was reminded of this a couple of months ago when the stores started playing Christmas music and began shelving their Christmas merchandise before it was even Halloween! Yes, some of us love this time of year: the music, the festivities, an excuse to shop and family time. And yes, some of us do not love this time of year: music reminding us that this time of year cannot be avoided, all the dreaded holiday parties, all the craziness in the stores and family time!
For those of us who do not have the time or money to hop on a plane and runaway to some far off place on this planet where they do not acknowledge Thanksgiving, Christmas or ringing in the New Year (does a place like this really exists?) – I am here to offer a few suggestions on how to survive the holidays; in particular, for those of us with multiple family obligations.
If you are newly married or have made a serious commitment to your partner, this part of your relationship may be new territory: how to divide holiday family time among two or more households? First, I recommend a conversation between the two of you to discuss family traditions that have always been and are currently practiced. For example, some families make a bigger deal over Christmas Eve compared to Christmas Day. What is important to each of your families? Are their conflicts? Can each household be honored/respected? If you find that there is a conflict, is it a situation that can be remedied if you or he/she speak with your respective families? For example, if both families eat their Thanksgiving meal at lunchtime would one family be willing to prepare a dinner time meal instead? This way you can have lunch at one home and dinner at another and both families will still be able to spend time with you?
Above all – communicate! Please do not assume that just because you and your family always did something the same way growing up means that everyone celebrates the holidays like you. And remember, even though it may not feel this way – there really is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays. You and your spouse or significant other can start your own family traditions together! I wish all of you a safe and peaceful holiday season! If this time of year does become too stressful or you find yourself in a complicated/unresolved situation, please do not hesitate to call our office and schedule an appointment to meet with one of us to help sort out whatever may be troubling you.