The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! Are you excited? Are you anxious? Are you "I don't know what I am"?
Holidays have always been the most stressful (good and bad) time of the year for us. As we move into this season, below is a thought-provoking questionnaire to help you cope and maybe smile your way into the holidays. There are no right or wrong answers. Journaling or hugging a tree works if you find yourself beginning to pace when you read this.
If you are having the big family party, should you:
- strive to achieve that perfect Norman Rockwell holiday?
- curl up with a friend and watch a movie or read a book?
- do the best you can to have a warm and welcoming house (or be that warm and welcoming guest)?
- help at a food pantry or soup kitchen?
- do everything yourself—all the shopping, cooking, and baking—along with the set-up and clean-up?
- delegate chores and duties to relatives and other guests (like asking everyone to bring their specialty)?
- think about having the meal catered? Or go out to a restaurant?
- simplify the meal and the celebration?
If you have a blended family, it is easy to try to please everyone, to allow yourself (or your kids) to be pulled in many different directions. Think about:
- having your major celebration on a different day (Who says your Thanksgiving dinner must be on Thanksgiving Day?)
- not trying to one-up your ex. This is not a competition—tone it down; disengage.
- working on embracing the true meaning of the holidays.
- having your children help with the preparation of the meal; teaching them how to prep and cook a meal is a priceless gift.
Coping with family is a huge trigger for many people. Plan how you are going to deal with these stressful situations.
Uncle Bob is a loudmouth political geek who constantly gives his opinion (and puts a political spin on everything). Do you:
- engage and try to convince him he is wrong?
- ignore him (If possible)?
- nod vigorously but not engage?
- go hug a tree (not one with pine needles and ornaments!)?
Uncle John drinks too much and passes out at every party. Do you:
- ignore him but make sure he has a ride home?
- ignore him but convince yourself that he is not your responsibility?
- engage him so he does not drink so much?
- remind him about how much he drinks and how many times he has passed out at holiday gatherings?
These are just a few of the situations we have experienced. Our best advice is to have a plan A, B, C, etc., breathe, or skip it all and go away somewhere special!
Have a great holiday season! Judi and Dave Painter