It used to be rare to gather altogether with family and just hang out, and those gatherings were the highlights of the year, whereas now it’s something we’ve gotten so used to, that a change of the pattern would be nice!
In the past, I’ve advised my clients on how to survive the holidays with family due to the fact that it’s one of the rare occasions when everyone gathers under the same roof for several days in a row and actually gets to spend uninterrupted time together. This usually doesn’t happen without some kind of conflicts…
This year I’ve advised on how to enjoy the holidays despite your family due to the fact that you’ve already spent so much time together during the past few years, ha!
Luckily the root cause is the same in both situations and there’s always something we can do about it!
And yes, you’ve guessed it right! It has to do with the work you do with yourself and with communication!
Basically, the only thing causing trouble is the fact that your expectations of the situation do not match with the reality. And when that happens, we feel disappointed, and sometimes unequipped to handle that disappointment.
How we can prevent this from happening, is by noticing our own expectations and by communicating them both to ourselves and those concerned.
So, what do you expect of the holiday season?
And, with whom do you need to communicate it?
To further avoid the fault finding situations between family members, or otherwise heated situations, here a few tips on how to prepare and get around those possible stumbling blocks:
- Make sure you’re all on the same page: go through everyone’s expectations of the holidays. Yes, everyone’s whose involved. When you understand both your own and others’ expectations and agree on respecting each other’s wishes (not necessarily all at once, but in turns), most of the conflicts are already avoided.
- Create your own traditions: depending who you’re spending the holidays with, there might be a crash of different traditions happening. Don’t follow traditions just for the sake of traditions, especially if they cause conflicts. Co-create what works in the moment and make your own traditions. Again, understanding the expectations helps a lot!
- Reserve quiet time for yourself also: you don’t have to spend every second of everyday altogether. Instead, each day you may have a block of time when everyone can have time for themselves and do whatever they prefer. Agree together in advance when that time is, so everyone has the possibility to prepare (i.e. kids can agree on time to play online games with friends etc.)