Holidays and Families
As we prepare to gather during the Holidays (to those who celebrate), it can often spark emotions such as anxiety. Family differences amplify when we get together with extended family and add lots of food consumption; sometimes, beverages can increase conflict. It may also create relationship conflict when deciding where and who to visit. Couples often stress over finances and how to spend the Holidays. Holiday traditions are essential in creating family bonds; however, they can be a source of conflict if not discussed. Often couples will assume the traditions they grew up with are the ones to continue. When we come together in a partnership, we must remember we come with our own beliefs and practices based on our families.
Additionally, we may reject our family’s beliefs and traditions if they don’t align with ours. When discussing our plans, ensure you have time when you aren’t tired or stressed. Pick a time to discuss how you and your partner or family would like the holidays to go. Have an exit plan if you are visiting extended family and conflict arises. Set a time limit on how long the discussion will go and make a plan to come back to it if needed. It can be helpful to take some time separately to gather our thoughts about what is important to us and how we want to celebrate. Please write it down, discuss it and actively listen to your partner’s wants and needs. Avoid people pleasing; often, families pressure members to visit or travel to them. Set a budget on how much you will spend and try to avoid the pressure to buy for everyone. Pick some relaxing activities and things that bring you joy by setting an intention for the season, such as “I will be present and peaceful during the holidays.”