I have always found it impossible. Yet every holiday season it feels like we are pulled in different directions by everyone else’s expectations of where we should be, and when we should be there. Many end up feeling guilty for disappointing relatives, and some feel manipulated by their relatives when they try to set boundaries.
Have you ever sat down to ask yourself what you want and where you want to be? Do you want to have three turkey dinners on Thanksgiving? Do you want to spend most of Christmas Day in a car traveling from house to house? My guess is that the answer to these questions would be “no.” As life goes on, changes happen, such as divorce, remarriage, and adult children marrying or relocating to new parts of the country. Even so, the family traditions around holidays are expected to remain the same. Many times, we end up trying so hard to keep traditions that we lose sight of why we started them. Holidays become about checking events, people, and stuff off the to do list instead of enjoying time with family and remembering the real reason for the Christmas season.
Overall, holidays will be stressful but trying to please everyone will be impossible. It’s important to remember that change is not a bad thing for family traditions and it is okay to speak up and do the things that are best for you and your family. If you find yourself feeling guilty, manipulated, depressed or overly anxious about the holidays, call to schedule an appointment with your nearest LFS counselor.
Manda Boothby, LMHC
Individual, Couples, and Family Therapist serving Sioux City and Council Bluffs