The old saying “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” has never rung truer than when it comes to how you are going to spend the upcoming holiday season.
Managing family expectations
When the wants and opinions of spouse, children, siblings, parents and in-laws are thrown into the mix, it’s easy to feel torn in multiple directions and become overwhelmed. This holiday, decide that your ultimate goal is to come up with a plan that is acceptable to both you and your spouse, so that everyone comes out a winner.
An exercise that will help get the conversation started toward a win-win result is to pen down exactly which holidays can possibly be spent abroad.
Next, list the way you would like to spend each holiday individually. This column will likely be based on what your family traditions were like while you were growing up. Also, try listing the feelings you have associated with the holiday. Finally, you will have to compromise with lots of understanding and be willing to use positive communication techniques to decide what you will do for each holiday as a couple.
Some of the questions to consider are:
- Do you want to simplify the season?
- Go to parties and be with people?
- Stay within a limited travel budget?
- Spend the day in the comfort of your own home?
By sitting down together and discussing the holiday topic, you can avoid future arguments on the same topic and put to rest any smoldering ashes left over from the last disagreement.
It’s important to remember that the decisions you make in the “here and now” will affect your entire family.
So, make your decisions based on what would maintain peace, create lasting and loving memories for the entire family while strengthening your relationship. Do remain flexible – you might have to review and modify this plan as your family changes and evolves over the years.
Keep it simple
The holiday season can eat into a significant chunk of your family budget each year – but it is possible to have a meaningful time together, even on a budget. Home-made gifts and cards are a thoughtful way to appreciate others – without setting the cash registers ringing.
Consider gathering your spouse and children together to plan out a family Christmas card. Parents can think of the message to include while the children play around with the designs. Scan the final masterpiece and print copies to send with a family photo. You could even turn this into a yearly family tradition.
Share the Christmas spirit
Sometimes the gift of time is the greatest gift of all during the holidays. There are a number of ways you can brighten the holidays of those around you and share the season. Some families choose to visit nursing homes and spend time talking and sharing, with the residents.
If you know of an elderly relative, neighbour, or friend who rarely gets to decorate for the holidays, why not help that person put up a tree and holiday lights? Then, after the season is over, help them put the decorations away. Even young children can join in this simple yet meaningful act of service – creating a lasting impression about the importance of helping others.
Used with permission from Focus on the Family Singapore
© 2015 Focus on the Family Singapore Ltd. All rights reserved.