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  • Helena Kallas

Overcoming Common Family Issues During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is filled with joy, laughter, and good spirits as families come together to celebrate and create lasting memories. However, during the celebrations, it is crucial to remember that this season may also bring several difficulties and conflicts among families. Through preparation and open communication, we can handle these typical problems and promote a more harmonious and enjoyable holiday experience. 

Presents with presence: Avoiding Expensive, Impersonal gift-giving  

Arguments over gift spending are among the most common sources of conflict during the holidays. As we all know, finding the perfect gifts for our loved ones can be both exciting and stressful. However, it is essential to remember that the true value of a gift lies in the thought and sentiment behind it, rather than its price value. Instead of focusing solely on the price tag, consider alternative gift approaches, such as Secret Santa, where each family member draws a name and buys a gift for that specific person. This not only reduces the financial burden but also adds an element of surprise and excitement to the gift-giving process. 

Surviving through Embarrassing stories 

Another issue that often arises during family gatherings is embarrassing childhood stories. While thinking back on the past may be enjoyable, it is crucial to be mindful of each other's feelings and boundaries. If there are certain stories that you would rather not have been told, it is perfectly acceptable to request that they not be shared, politely. Redirecting the conversation towards more positive or shared memories can help create a more enjoyable atmosphere for everyone involved. 

Harmonizing Styles for Happy Holidays 

Disagreements over parenting styles can also be a potential source of tension during the holiday season. It is important to remember that parenting choices are deeply personal and can vary greatly from one family to another. Instead of criticizing or judging different approaches, it is crucial to remind ourselves that there is no "one-size-fits-all" method when it comes to raising children. Each parent has their own values, beliefs, and experiences that shape their parenting style. By respecting and acknowledging these differences, we can create a more understanding and supportive environment for all family members. 

Coordinating Holiday Plans 

In some examples, there may be pressure from relatives regarding plans, such as where to spend the holidays. It is essential to set boundaries politely but firmly, emphasizing that these decisions are personal and may not be up for discussion. If disagreements occur about which family to visit, it can be beneficial to be open with your partner and look into other options. Consider switching holidays, where one year you spend with your family and the next year with your partner's family. Alternatively, you can also consider separate celebrations, where you spend part of the day with one family and the rest with another. This way, it ensures that both families' needs are included. 

When it comes to addressing old arguments or negative conversations, it is crucial to approach them in a neutral and non-confrontational manner. While acknowledging that these conversations may cause pain or distress, move the conversation to a safer topic

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