Who’s going where and doing what for which holiday when? Whose turn is it to spend time with whom? As a Mars Venus relationship coach, these are questions I often hear around this time of year. With the holiday season upon us, the challenge for couples is to determine how to divide their time between family and friends and choose activities that will please as many as possible. The scheduling issues are only compounded within blended families that must take even more people and households into consideration. No matter what choices you make, there’s no way everyone will end up happy all of the time and, without a doubt, someone somewhere will be disappointed. So how can you minimize the emotional stress and maximize the holiday fun for all? This year you can create a plan!
It begins with you and your mate recognizing and acknowledging that each member of the family has differing yet valid opinions (based on past holiday traditions and experiences) of what constitutes ‘fun’. A good exercise is to start with a family meeting. Give everyone in your household (if in a blended family, you may want to include those members, too) a notebook and ask them to prioritize the upcoming holidays in the order of most importance to them (ex: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Yule, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, etc).
Then ask each person to write down where they want to spend each holiday and 3 activities that they would like to do to celebrate each one. Some examples might be:
• Watch sports
• Open presents
• Cook or Eat (turkey, ham, steak, lasagna, tamales, seafood, etc)
• Go to church
• Party with friends
• Visit mom, dad, or grandparents
• Go skiing in the mountains or snorkeling in the tropics
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