Making the Most of the Holiday Season
December 15, 2022
We all know that the holidays can be a really tough time of the year. They are full of joy, but also full of expectation and excess. There are countless parties, school activities, work events to attend, not to mention all the gift-buying and giving, party hosting and meal-prepping to do.
Here are a few ideas to consider as you prepare for and work to minimize the stress the holiday season can bring.
Enter with Proper Expectations
We set ourselves up for disappointment when our ideas for the holidays don’t meet reality. We all hope our kids will be well-behaved at the party, that the meal turns out perfect, or that the entire family is going to get along on Christmas Day. The reality is none of those things may happen.
As I plan my family’s calendar, I try to ask myself “How will I feel no matter what happens?” Can I give myself a free pass to enjoy the experience even if the kids don’t act like angels? What if Uncle Fred gets into it with the other side of the family?
Considering in advance how you’ll feel when things don’t go as planned will better prepare you to enjoy the experience without resentment or disappointment. It will also help you decide if you even want to participate in a particular event.
Here’s my little secret: It’s okay to say no. Our calendars get loaded with all sorts of extras during the holidays. Take an honest look at each of them and decide if it’s worth your time and energy to participate. Quite simply, some of these events may not bring value to you or your family. It’s okay – or important even – to protect your own mental health and time by learning to say no to the things that add stress but don’t add value or magic to you or your loved ones during the holiday season.
Create a space where you can enjoy the things that you do love about the holidays. Be willing to say no to the things that don’t.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Be sure to communicate to your partner how you are feeling during the holiday chaos. Instead of acting irritated or short, tell them when you are overwhelmed by the pressure and stress that comes during this magical season and then work together to find out how you can help take things off each other’s plates.
Maybe you are like me and really hate wrapping gifts. I am the queen procrastinator who can usually be found wrapping into the wee hours of Christmas morning, but my husband doesn’t feel that way. Maybe yours is the same and he’d love to turn on a game in the basement and multitask (No comments on his wrapping job if it’s bad!). Or, make it a fun thing you do together. Order pizza after the kids go to sleep, put on some music or Hallmark movie and spend some time together while you knock out the gift wrapping.
Be clear about what you want and need. Getting on the same page as your spouse and sharing your feelings will help you and your partner connect instead of getting irritated with each other.
Above all, remember this is just a season so look for the joy in it.
From our families to yours, we wish each of you a fun, enjoyable stress-free holiday season!
Author: Jemma Coleman & Lauren Guenther
How healthy is your marriage?
ready to have a conversation?
You may also like:
A lot of the therapy work I do is helping couples and partners understand what their contributions to the relationship are, and how they can start making changes for the better, specifically with communication. Specifically, when communicating with your spouse, it’s important to make sure that you are not part of the problem, but part of the solution.
I bet many of you have already seen the recent Brene’ Brown video making the rounds where she calls out the myth of marriage being a 50/50 partnership.
I get asked a lot how to save a marriage when one spouse is leaning out or is contemplating divorce. Everybody’s situation’s different, but what I’m seeing a lot lately is very concerning to me.