Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? For some the Holiday season is a time of great joy and happiness. A time for your family and friends to gather and be thankful for all the blessings the year has had to offer. For some people, it is anything but a time to be jolly and cheerful.
We have heard a lot of different opinions on how family members "should" be doing this or that. "It's a tradition." or " Why can't they just do it for this year and their way the next?" People are creatures of habit. What was once the way, should always be the way. Younger generations though are looking past the old traditions and choosing what's best for their mental health. Below are some issues that may arise during this time of the year and helpful (at least we hope) tips on how to avoid them altogether or at least soften the blow.
Do we really need to talk politics Grampa Joe?
Conflict and gratitude don't tend to go hand in hand. Since you can't turn on the T.V., radio or pick up a newspaper without being bombarded with political news it's surely going to be brought up at the dinner table. We could start replacing the kids table with the politics table but let's be honest, you will still hear the screams. Instead how about offering the family a monetary gift for all that don't participate? It's simple. Place a jar labeled "NO politics allowed" at the hub of the house. Each time someone slips up and starts a political conversation, they nicely place a $1,$5,or $10 dollar bill in the jar. At the end of the night, each NON offender gets to take home their portion of the jar. One thing it keep in mind though, everyone has the right to their own political affiliation. Some of the best things learned come from simply hearing one another. You don't have to agree, but it is important to remember love is deeper than a donkey or elephant. Even if it is not your cup of tea.
But, But, But... I can't eat that!
We all know that it is hard to have diet restrictions during big gatherings. You really never want to be "that person" but all at the same time, you would like to know there is SOMETHING you can eat at the dinner table. If you are not hosting the meal it may be harder to control what is and isn't served. Give your host a heads up prior to the meal. "Hey Aunt Trudy, I really can't have Rosemary." She may be able to exclude from the menu ahead of time and if not bringing a side dish that you know will work for your dietary needs ensures a full belly at the end of the night. If, for whatever reason you are unable to get the ideal dietary meal your accustomed to, no worries,we are sure skipping a side dish or two won't ruin your Holiday.
Happy, Merry, oh wait a minute!
Christmas season use to come with a lot less obstacles. 10 years ago we were all Merry Christmas this and Santa's coming to town that, not anymore. As times change more and more religions are looking for a little piece of the holiday spirit. When they walk into a store they would like to see a Menorah as well as a Christmas tree. Bring on all the good will and spirit each and every religion and belief brings. If we as a society could focus on caring, giving, including and attending to our own belief systems the true meaning, whatever yours is will shine through at the end of the day. So ho ho ho and happy everything.
Your families house or mine? How about neither!
There was a conversation at the practice the other day that sparked this one to make the list. A wonderful woman was talking about how "family" holidays die off as the older generations pass. She was slightly upset that her niece wouldn't be coming home for the upcoming holiday. "How dare she!" I proceeded to keep to myself as I at one time was never interested in attending family gatherings. There is a great amount of respect for those that would like to put on the show during the holiday time. Set your differences aside and simply show up, eat, and leave. How hard can that really be? Well, a lot harder than some may be willing to recognize. Today more and more people are focusing on what is good for their own mental health. At times this will not always go the way others around them may see fit, and that's just gotta be okay with you. Allow the person to be authentic to themselves. Family gatherings for them may mean putting them in a position to be fake, tolerate people or situations that go against their own morals,standards and values. You nor any holiday elf has the right to ask "just for one day" to set aside those beliefs and standards. If you would really like to spend some quality time with them, try the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas. More laid back quality time without the upset.
No matter the occasion, just remember to each is their own. Be proud of who you are and how you carry yourself. All those around you need to care for themselves with the pride and joy within them. From all of us here to anywhere you are... Happy Holiday's.