By: Pamela Burrell, BA intern from Liberty University
Each year, the holiday season comes, and for many people, it brings along with it loads of anxiety, deriving from issues that are unresolved. These issues are too much to bear for some, causing them to dread the holiday season. As a family, especially where disagreements are commonplace, it sometimes seems to do more harm than good by coming together during the holiday season. For instance, in situations where new traditions are introduced into a family by marriage or other means, the holiday season can be stressful for all. In a family that has always enjoyed celebrating the holidays with traditions passed down from generations before, the thought of celebrating any other way is unwelcome.
Family gatherings around the holidays are generally thought of as a chance for everyone to enjoy being together; but for some, taking this opportunity to “get things off their chest” is too hard to resist. Insults and pitting family members against one another is often how these scenes play out. The holiday season should be the best of times, but for many they are the worst of times. Such issues as deciding which side of the family you will be celebrating with each year, deciding who makes the best Thanksgiving turkey, creating and sticking to a budget for Christmas, deciding how many gifts to give whom, or if you’ll even give gifts at all, are just a few examples of divisive matters during this time of year. Each year as each month passes, we sometimes hesitantly await the holidays, but we don’t have to. There are several ways to settle the issues that may have plagued your family for years.
First, it’s a great idea to be proactive throughout the year. Deciding on your plans early on by discussing plans with family members as the months progress, can alleviate stress. Also, with today’s modern technology playing such a huge role in our society today, it’s so easy to rely upon texting to communicate. However, when planning events such as family gatherings, it’s important to communicate via telephone whenever possible. Emotions and context can be misunderstood when texting; this can contribute to misunderstandings. Furthermore, technology is not totally reliable. Reaching an agreement to gather at a neutral location each year, or if your family is divided, agreeing to alternate locations between the two sides of the family from year to year may be other workable solutions.
Secondly, staying focused on resolving the issue, and respecting each other’s view on the matter is a great way to come to a solution that you can all agree on. Everyone is entitled to their own preferences and opinions, it’s important to remember that about everyone involved. You don’t always have to agree in order to arrive at viable solutions.
Thirdly, it’s important to remember that no one should ever be frowned upon because they may have an alternate method of celebrating the holidays. It’s essential that you all have a common goal, spending quality time together as a family.
Finally, don’t commit or agree to anything you do not really want to agree with. For example, don’t agree to cook if you really don’t want to or if it’s just not your specialty. Find other ways to contribute such as bringing drinks, store bought dessert, or other items from the menu.
The Holidays can be a time of stress or enjoyment; it’s all up to those involved. It’s all about perspective; seeing the holiday season as a time to love on one another, or fight with one another, it’s all up to you!
We have a group to help you get through the stress of the holidays! See the flyer below and join us. Support to successfully get through the holiday season.