Don’t cross the line between pleasant and painful this holiday season.
If you don’t keep your guard up, the holidays will leave you holidazed. Here are some common holidangers and how to safely stay away from them.
#1 You Get Too Caught Up On Things and Yourself
It’s pretty easy to let the mind get overrun with what you need and want, but isn’t this season about giving? We’ve probably learned this lesson before, but sometimes it doesn’t stick: giving feels better than receiving.
Evade this danger by helping refugees.
If this winter seems stressful, consider what it would be like without knowing English and without having basic necessities. To make the holidays more meaningful, look into the following:
- Help teach English
- Donate school supplies or toiletries
- Donate money
- Family mentoring, youth mentoring
- Learn basic language skills of refugees you want to help
These acts of service need not be done alone. There are donation centers and refugee centers to work with, such as:
- Refugee Education and Training Centers
- United Way
- LDS Charities, ldscharities.org
#2 You Get Stressed Out Because You Have to Split Time With In-Laws
The holidays are about family, and sometimes it’s hard on spouses to have to ditch their own families for their spouse’s. This can be especially hard for newlyweds who are used to spending time with their own families.
It is no crime to prefer spending time with your own family, but it is inconsiderate to disregard your spouse’s similar desires. There may be a temptation to focus on the annoyances of visiting a spouse’s family, while at the same time trying to minimize the conflicts associated with visiting your own family.
Evade the danger:
Here are some key points to remember when in-laws come into the picture:
1. Remember that being with your spouse’s family is valuable because it is bound to teach you more about your spouse. After all, it’s the environment he or she was raised in.
2. If you care about your spouse’s family, your spouse will love you more.
3. Your spouse probably cares very much that your children get to know their side of the family, even if it’s a distasteful, sometimes bothersome environment (for you).
4. Don’t be walked on. Some people are tempted to always yield to their spouse’s family demands, which can breed inner resentment.
5. Always be positive when going to see your spouse’s family. It can be a bummer to realize your own family is together without you, but this is what the sacrifice of marriage is all about.
6. Don’t commit too soon. This is a rookie error that leads to a lot of conflict. Always consult with your spouse and plan how you’ll split family time at least a couple weeks in advance.
7. Let your spouse know what’s most important to you. You may see Christmas as the most important family time, and your spouse may say it’s New Year’s for them.
8. Never sacrifice the health of your relationship for a family visit. Be aware of when your relationship needs its own time.
If you’re at a serious stalemate, consider celebrating a holiday on a different day. It may feel strange at first, but it can be a necessity that you get used to.
#3 Your Family Wants To Talk Politics
See some ideas for evading this danger here.
#4 The Pressure to Make Things Magical Is Too Much
Parents feel obligated to provide all the lights, tastes, moments and memories that are supposed to be associated with the upcoming holidays. Sometimes it’s just too much.
Here’s the root of the problem: a slew of traditions rains down upon us during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it’s up to a select few (mostly moms) to make them happen. Sooner or later, every parent pauses and says, “Wait a second, this is supposed to be magical for me, too.”
Take inventory of your traditions—whether it’s some dish of food, display of lights, a decoration or activity—and ask yourself if these traditions bring the joy you’re looking for. Ask if the family actually cares that much about them. Decide if it’s time to create a more meaningful, less stressful tradition.
Some stressful traditions:
- Complicated light displays or decorations
- Difficult dishes and meals
- Endless treats
- Intricate ornaments
- 12 Days of Christmas
- Annual parties
- Travelling somewhere
- Window art
Some easy traditions:
- A timely movie
- Go find a family restaurant
- Read a book aloud together
- Watch a football game