Is your life like the movie “Home for the Holidays”, where everything that could go wrong does at your family gathering, or is it more like a Norman Rockwell painting, where everyone is happy and carefree?
Whatever the case, you have some memories of Christmas and some opinions about it.
The beauty of being a responsible adult is that you can change your family traditions.
You can’t change the other members of your family, so don’t try. You’ll kill any shot you have at happiness. Work on changing yourself, since that is the only power you have. Chances are, it’s your perception of how things are going to go that colors the outcome you experience. If you choose to believe that you’ll have a lousy time because all your relatives are maniacs that escaped from the asylum, you’ll probably have a lousy time. But if you look at your visit as an adventure in human interaction, wouldn’t it be a lot more fun?
Either way, you get to go back home when it’s over.
What I’m suggesting here is that whether or not you have a good time depends on you. Will you give other people the power to control your emotions or will you take the reins and choose for yourself?
Here’s an example. Suppose there is nothing in the world you do to make your parents say, “I’m proud of you.” It’s no fun to accomplish something you think is great, tell them about it, and hear the chirping of crickets as you wait for the applause. I know, you hope against hope that this time it will be different. Here’s the test. Are you going to let that critical response set the tone for your whole visit?
If you do, the cycle of disappointment will continue.
That test is a hard one because your parents had a big role in shaping who you are. If you can stand strong when they wear you down, then you can do it in front of anyone, right? If you can survive the slings and arrows of a bad family gathering with a smile on your face, can’t you face the Goliaths of your life with greater ease?
I think maybe those who refuse to celebrate Christmas are really doing it because of family dynamics than the crass commercialism that pervades the holidays.
How do you spend your family gatherings at Christmas?