Holidays with or without the family

Holidays are generally thought of as the most important times of the year. For many, the holidays represent a time of much needed rest and relaxation, a time to splurge on oneself.

Holidays are also viewed as one of the few times of the year when one gets to see family.

While the family is the most important aspect of one’s life, family members can still cause undue amounts of stress.

Thanksgiving and the winter holidays such as Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanza signify a time to rejoice and spread joy.

Parents continually tell their children, generation after generation, to respect their elders and enjoy the time that they have with them.

Children, teenagers, and young college-aged adults constantly battle with their parents and nuclear families that the winter holidays are a time for them to relax and not to hear Grandpa Joe re-tell his stories of World War II.

Many people do not realize that Aunt Myrtle could care less that you got her a box of expensive chocolates-what she cares about most is the communication.

Why is it such a struggle between the generations? It is a struggle because our values have changed? When my parents were children, they enjoyed Christmas with Mom, Dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Dad had days off from work, Mom cooked Christmas dinner and afterwards, everyone would gather around the table and catch up on everything that has happened over the past 360 plus days.

Where has our dinner table gone? Eight out of ten self-help magazines and books on any given shelf offer dozens of remedies for the holiday stress.

Would the holiday stress diminish if our capacities to not only communicate with our family members were replenished, but also the respect we have for each other?

I have several friends that are unable to go home for the holidays due to various reasons. One of my friends was saddened because her family decided that since she had limited time and money to spend with them that she and her family would go to Luby’s for dinner.

Has the need for instant gratification and lack of communication led us to enjoy our holiday dinner amongst strangers?

Another stressful aspect of the holidays is introducing your significant other to the family. Not only does this mean that you are serious about that person, but this also means you are willing to sacrifice that special person to the scrutiny of your family and their expectations.

Imagine that you have been invited to spend the holidays with your special someone’s family, but they treat the holidays very differently than you and your family do. How are you going to respectfully communicate this change with your significant other and their family? If you don’t, what is your body language going to reveal that your mouth would not?

These are all important situations and aspects to consider and ponder over a piece of pumpkin pie.

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