Happier Holidays – Part 2

If you enjoyed “Happier Holidays, Part 1” have you thought of any other gifts you can give yourself as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach?  Customs and traditions can be amazing Gifts in the life of any family. Little kids grow up and have their own kids, and the scene around any holiday table can change from year to year. Even though spending holiday time (or any time) with family can be a wonderful gift, I’m reminded of my dad’s comment at the end of one stressful Thanksgiving dinner. “Sometimes you can have too much togetherness.” If you can relate (and who can’t?) here are more Gifts you can give yourself to make your gatherings less stressful and more enjoyable.

Gift 2: Remember that no matter how large or small your gathering, you’re still spending this time with other “less than perfect” people. So you can’t expect perfection to be the end result of the day.

Gift 3: If you’re dreading having to “put on a happy face” at a family gathering because you’re feeling depressed, sad or angry, ask yourself why you’re feeling that way. Then figure out what to do about it. Do you need help? Do you need to talk to someone? Remember that family and friends are not mind readers. It’s your responsibility to let them know, in an appropriate way, how you feel and what you need from them.

Gift 4: Don’t get caught in “the family time warp.” No matter how old you are and how much progress you’ve made, family dynamics can sometimes pull you back in time. Here’s an example. One year when I called my mother to talk about “who would bring what” for Thanksgiving at our house, she said, “Kathy doesn’t have to bring anything because she’s the baby.” (My mother had made this same pronouncement for years). In a calm but firm voice I replied, “Mother, Kathy is 50 years old. She may still be your baby, but she’s old enough to manage a green bean casserole.” She could … and she did. Are you still seeing someone as how they used to be instead of how they are now?

Whether it’s the holidays or life in general, we all experience times when we need to be kind and compassionate with others … and with ourselves. Those can be the greatest gifts of all.


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