One of the big questions around the holidays is how to make everyone happy by attending ALL family gatherings.
Answer? YOU CAN’T!
The phrase in that first sentence that needs to jump out at you is “making everyone happy.” That’s impossible most of the time, and doubly so over the holidays. But if you can accept that you can’t make EVERYONE happy, then the goal changes. You can start asking how you can participate in the events and gatherings that make YOU happy?
Sound selfish? Selfishness is when you try to get what you want at the expense of others. This is simply self-care.
Evaluate all the parties, dinners, and other events you’re invited to and honestly consider where you want to be. Who are the people who support you, care about you, encourage you? Make spending time with those folks a priority.
Then consider those people who you care about even though they’re difficult, or the ones who are toxic but married to people you love, and all such complications. Here’s where compromise and creativity come in.
You can have Thanksgiving dinner with one set of relatives (the folks that you really want to be with) but have dessert (briefly!) with another, more difficult set. You can suggest a Christmas breakfast with the folks likely to get intoxicated later in the day, and have Christmas dinner with family members and friends who are healthy and fun. And so on.
As I suggested in my first holiday blog post, you need to plan ahead here and think outside of what’s “always” been done. I know going against tradition can be hard (and likely to upset certain relatives), especially around the holidays. But to become healthy humans, we must embrace change and become resilient. Some folks in your life won’t like what you’re doing, and that’s OK.
Better to feel a little discomfort now than a whole lot of resentment later.