How to prevent family drama this holiday season
By Aimee Heckel
If there’s some truth to even dark comedy, Clark Griswold’s wife had it a point when she said, “It’s Christmas, and we’re all in misery.” In fact, the entire Christmas classic, “Christmas Vacation,” was based around family tensions around the holidays.
The truth is, dysfunctional, fractured and otherwise complicated relationships can add a great deal of stress to the holidays.
Here are some ways to help deal with family drama this holiday season:
Set good boundaries and remember you have a choice.
You have a choice to participate in even things that are a family tradition. Often, we create unnecessary stress by trying to do everything for everyone. If you are feeling overwhelmed, set priorities and let some things go — whether that means baking cookies for your office instead of buying everyone gift cards, or alternating family dinners every other year so you don’t feel so rushed.
Find creative, thoughtful solutions to stressful situations.
So you can’t afford to fly out to visit your grandparents this December, or every time you do, you end up getting in a heated argument with them about politics and you can’t take the stress this year. It’s OK to stay home and explain lovingly to them that you cannot visit this year. Then come up with alternative ways to connect with them that might be healthier.
Make them a personalized photo book with thoughtful letters from every member of your family. Make them a fun home video, a tour of your neighborhood and your kids’ schools. Dedicate your tree to them in a personal way, or send them flowers every day that you would have been there with personalized notes.
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Remember: Making changes will often be challenging, but it is OK to take care of yourself and your immediate family this holiday season, too. You are not responsible for everyone else’s happiness — or anyone else’s, actually.
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