First Things First

Holiday Expectations

When the holidays draw near, many people play tapes in their mind about how the holidays will go.

Uncle Ralph may have a bit too much to drink and insist on starting something with someone over nothing.  Then the celebration will be over.

Maybe you don’t get along with your in-laws and you dread spending time with them. Or perhaps your sister’s children are totally out of control and your sister thinks it is cute while everybody else is miserable.

Every family probably has its own holiday challenges. Even so, will you let the challenges steal the joy of celebrating?

“The more times these scenarios play over in your mind, the more stressed and emotional you tend to become,” says Dr. David Banks, local marriage coach. “By the time the actual day arrives, you’re a walking time bomb. The least little thing will set you into motion and you wonder why you are so irritable and short-tempered.”

If experiences in the past have you anticipating a less than enjoyable holiday, you are not helpless.

“You really don’t have to sit around waiting for the ill-fated shoe to drop,” Banks says. “Take control of the situation by making a plan.”

Once you have a plan, Banks suggests that you communicate your plan to your family.  But if you’re married, be careful not to make it sound like your spouse came up with the plan alone.

“If you really want to get something started with your spouse and your in-laws, call your parents and say something like, ‘My husband wants to stay home for Thanksgiving this year.’ Instead of throwing your spouse under the bus, tell your respective families that we came up with a plan to celebrate the holidays a bit differently this year,” Banks says.

In addition to planning before the holiday, Banks says these things can help:

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