Surviving the Holidays


You can't do things differently until you see things differently.

My Thanksgiving Holiday

With the holidays knocking at your door, most of us will get a chance to enjoy a much needed break.  The reality for me is as much as playing hard for the holidays sound good, my family can be hard work.  Despite the desire to spend quality time being grateful, some old wounds can and frequently do rear their ugly head during the holidays.  This can transform the holiday feast you’ve waited all year for into the holiday feast you can’t wait to leave.  No matter if it’s a moaning mother-in-law, crabby cousin, or disappointed dad trouble can strike fast when everyone is altogether. 

The great news is, if you’re like me you’ve spent the whole year working!  Now this may not sound like good news… but with all the time you spend working on your professional career it presents a great opportunity to put some time into working on your relationships.  The holidays are a good time to start as the mood has already been set (people are feeling grateful, full, relaxed and maybe a little bit buzzed).  Here are some things I like to keep in mind when preparing for the holidays.

  • Open the doors of communication.  At my house everyone goes around and shares what they are grateful for.  Usually we share the standard responses of family, health and happiness.  Make your declaration have a real impact by sharing with your friends and family individually why you are grateful to have them in your life.  Yes this should include everyone.  Even if they are not your favorite person, a challenging relationship stands to teach you something about life and yourself which you can be grateful for.
  • Step out of your norm.  Its way to easy in getting caught in a trap of repetition during the holidays.  Just as we eat the same things, we can get stuck treating people the same way year after year.  Mixing things up, even a little bit can help take a relationship in a whole new direction.  If you always jet to watch the game after dinner, spend a couple of minutes helping with the clean-up, sit next to a different member of the family and engage them in conversation.  Don’t miss out on the huge opportunity you are presented not only express your thanks for things you have but to change the things you, and those around you, are missing.
  • Find ways to take the feel good moments of the holidays with you throughout the year.  The holidays always bring out the warm and fuzzy feelings but why should they just stop there.  Remembering the things you love about your family in the good times can bridge some gaps when things are going sour.  This year I am setting out cards for each family member and inviting everyone to write something special in their card.  Whether it’s a card or a picture or any reminder of the love we all could use a reminder of the holidays in the hectic whirlwind we call life.

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