How To Survive the Family During the Holidays Part 1
5 PART SERIES OF HOW TO SURVIVE
THE FAMILY DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Why can’t we just have one day of peace?
Question- I do not look forward to the holidays. We argue more and no one helps each other- there is no joy. Then to top that off, we have to go to the in-laws. Wow, and I thought my little family bickered a lot. Please, please give me some ideas on how we can make it through the holiday season and not end up getting a divorce or permanently grounding the kids?
Answer – That is a good question. This should be a time when we can spend more quality time together. A time when we should relax, distress, and just have fun. And yes at times it does feel like an impossibility to feel even just a small amount of peace.
Scholars have dedicated years of study and research insight into this family dynamic. Following the advice from them, found below, can perhaps help us find the peace that seems to be illusive. I have separated the life changing information into 5 blogs. 1- De-emphasize the materialistic part of the holiday 2- Setting our differences aside for the time being 3- Acknowledge our own needs and limitations 4- Finding fault and 5- Speaking our mind. The first is found below:
Research shows that unhappy people are more materialistic. When we are less satisfied with life, we tend to try and fix it by buying something. That does work for the ride home, and then we start feeling that same feeling of emptiness. We may also try to fix it by attending every party or gathering we can, to feel that we belong. Another attempt to make life seem happier is to be the best decorator on the block.
If you are feeling any or all of this, it is time to take a deeper look at why we are really celebrating the holidays.
De-emphasize the materialist part of the holidays. Good questions to ask your self are:
- What do I really want?
- Do I want the house decorated and if so why?
- Is it for prestige or celebration?
- Will it bring lasting memories?
- Is it to outdo the neighbors?
- Can it be just simple enough that even the kids want to help?
- If you want to do an activity and no one else in the family does, then it might be time to reevaluate how much it means to you.
- If you still want it, then ask them if it is fair to have everyone pitch in if they didn’t want it? (This could be an act of love from all sides freely given if it isn’t overdone)
- Ask the same question when it comes to feeling that you have to give all the neighbors a gift. That is a nice sentiment and it makes others feel welcome, yet is it really too stressful and is it really needed?
- What other traditions are expected that really do not bring you or your family joy?
This time of year especially can make us feel that we are not good enough. We have in our mind that we will only be good enough if we decorate, make goodies, buy everyone a gift, go caroling, send cards, and we definitely have to have an elf. In reality our value is not linked to all of this commercialism. We are of much greater worth than that. Just having the memories of simple family traditions and of having time together is what will really last. (If that includes and elf, then so be it.)
- One of the ways to be able to de-emphasize the materialism is to stay present.
- Don’t worry about the future because that causes anxiety.
- Don’t keep thinking about the past because that can cause depression.
- Staying focused on what is present in front of you and only what you can do at this moment will take away so much stress.
Get the free download to help you find what is a real priority and what needs to go. This would be good to have all family members fill out. That will help get everyone on the same page.
Watch next week for “Setting Our Differences Aside” for more tips on handling holiday stress.
Peace and love can be found in the holidays, one step at a time.
© Kristena Eden
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