- Examine your expectations for the season.
If a perfect holiday is a 10, scale back your expectations to an eight or even a seven. Refrain from trying to achieve a storybook season keep your sense of humor, and take a realistic approach to the holidays.
- Go into the holiday season with a sense of what's important to you as a parent or a family.
Determine what your budget will allow and, if necessary, convey that information to your children so their expectations are realistic.
"Don't get sucked into the culture of consumerism," said Dankoski.
- People tend to keep traditions going that long ago stopped being fun.
Discuss modifying or eliminating traditions that no longer have meaning. Consider starting new ones that focus on family connectedness and sharing.
- Be aware of old family patterns.
Reflect on your roles within the family and recognize that you have a choice in family dynamics. While you can't change how others act, you can change how you react.
- If we see aging parents once a year, that annual visit carries heavy emotional baggage for both parents and adult children.
Both generations should try to connect on an adult-to-adult level, she said.
The parents need to come to terms with the fact that their children are no longer children and the children should try to resist the impulse to treat their parents like children. The goal is to connect as peers.
- Exercise, eat as sensibly as you can in spite of all that wonderful holiday fare, and keep up with your sleep. Don't neglect your own needs when under stress.
- Focus on whatever the holiday means to you and your family.
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