Listen Linda

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Linda… Listen,
They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but lately it’s just been the most stressful. Everyone isbrunning around crazy trying get everything done before Christmas, and for what? I love being home for the holidays, but my family is already driving me crazy. What should I do to get everyone back on track?
How can I get everyone, including myself, to stop stressing and start enjoying the holiday season?
Sincerely,
The Grinch

Dear Grinch,
Believe me, I can definitely relate to your situation. For many years I have experienced what you are going through and to be honest its exhausting! I got to the point where I dreaded Christmas each year.
Christmas has gotten way too commercialized and we can’t even enjoy Thanksgiving anymore because of all the Pre-Black Friday Sales! The holidays can make people feel out of control. We feel at the mercy of our relatives or steamrolled by the sheer force of family tradition. But you do have a say in all of this.
The key is to take some control over the holidays, instead of letting them control you.
For example, you may find the family obligations of the holidays overwhelming. You have to make the fruit cakes according to your grandmother’s recipe, even though you personally find them repulsive.
You have to go over to your aunts for the holiday dinner, even though she always drinks too much, makes a scene, and freaks you out. You have to leave a poinsettia on your grandfather’s grave, even though it’s three hours and two states away. You don’t exactly want to do any of these things. You just have to. The big question here is do you really have to?
The next step is to challenge some of the have to’s. If you enjoyed the holidays differently this year, what would happen? What if you didn’t go to your aunt’s for dinner? What if you didn’t bring the poinsettias to your grandfather’s grave? You would probably work yourself into panic mode like I used to! Once you get past that initial panic, think about what would really happen. Maybe your aunt would be annoyed. Is that the end of the world? Could you make it up to her later with a lunch date in February?
Instead of going all the way to Egypt and back to your grandfather’s grave, could you honor him in a different way such as lighting a candle or donating in his name to a local organization?
Once you take a stand, then I would be willing to bet that not only you, but the majority of your family will catch on and hopefully these changes will allow an enjoyable and peaceful Christmas!
Merry Christmas!
Linda

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