Family, Stress & the Holidays…

The holidays are the time for giving and They present many opportunities to bond with family, and that’s a good thing,…but this time of year can also present significant stress, particularly when family conflict arises. Some conflict can come from having to decide which relatives to see, if any. Here are some ways to divide up your time over the holidays and handle conflicts and holiday stress that may arise. So how do you ‘de-stress’ the holiday atmosphere? The great thing about the holiday season — besides the gifts! — is having the chance to spend valuable time with our loved ones, show our appreciation for one another and overall, give thanks.Holiday traditions are important in every family, regardless of religion or how you choose to observe the holiday season. They provide meaningful and cherished lifelong memories and more so, an opportunity to spend quality time together.Family traditions can be as simple as you make them; they can be a Christmas Eve family game night by the fire, preparing a holiday meal as a family, saying grace or even a Sunday spent together helping others at the neighborhood food bank or soup kitchen. Below we’ve included some of our absolute favorite ideas and fun activities for spending the holiday season together as a family. We hope that this year’s holidays brings your family much joy, love and overall plenty of fantastic shared meals and treasured gifts!

  • Host Celebrations At Your House. If the stress of traveling each year is more than you’d like to handle, you may want to have family over to your home for the holidays. This is also a good solution when you have too many groups or relatives to take turns seeing: invite everyone to celebrate together, and you will get to see everyone more often. While this won’t work in every situation, it can build bonds between groups of relatives that may not know one another very well.
  • Take Turns with Relatives. If you and your spouse both want to celebrate with your families of origin, if you’re dealing with a divorce situation where not everybody wants to celebrate together or if you just have a lot of family, it can be stressful deciding who to see, and when. Taking turns is an easy solution. If you see one group in November, see the other in December, or alternate years. Then you can eventually see everybody.
  • Just Say No. If seeing family causes you great amounts of stress each year, it’s OK to say no sometimes. Celebrating with just your partner or kids can be a wonderful alternative to seeing people who make you feel consistently stressed.


  • Be Prepared to Encounter a Little Conflict. If you usually have conflict when you get together with your family, it’s a good idea to be prepared for it. I’m not suggesting that you go looking for trouble, but rather, approach the situation with a sense of realism. If your mother always criticizes your appearance or your brother always makes rude jokes, don’t expect them to change their habits; just have a sense of humor about it and remind yourself what you love about them.


Christmas and the holidays have a variety of meanings and depending on the family and their customs, we all celebrate a little differently. Regardless of your religion, or what holiday it is that you are celebrating, remember…family is what brings and keeps everyone together, so don’t make it stressful. Be happy, enjoy the season and be grateful for all that you have, for so many people don’t have family and would give anything to be in your shoes right now. Be thankful and smile during the holidays and appreciate all that you have. What you have may seem like nothing to you, but for that one person that you may pass on the street, or in the employee cafeteria, or at church that doesn’t have anyone to celebrate with, that smile will mean the world to them. Give the gift that costs nothing, that doesn’t need to be wrapped in fancy tissue or decorated boxes. Love one an other…for that my friend is a gift that is priceless.




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