12/09/2013 03:29 pm ET Updated Feb 07, 2014

Dealing With the December Dilemma

Christmas and Kwanzaa are just days away, Hanukkah has just ended, and as always, for many people the issue of interfaith relationships still poses a conflict and end up fighting over what to do and where to spend the holidays. If you're fighting over this issue, that tells me three things: 1) poor communication 2) neither person is having their needs met 3) each has some fiery passion that potentially could be used in a much better way.

Be open-minded, be flexible, and willing to compromise. If one person agrees to forgo his/her holiday just to avoid conflict, then resentment will surely brew. You have choices other than just celebrating one or the other. A lot of couples celebrate by attending services together and decorating to reflect both holidays. Others make it more secular by celebrating peace and the spirit of the season.

Have a conversation about the other person's religion. Find out what aspects of it are most important to each other. Is it going to midnight mass? Attending synagogue? Is it about celebrating the actual meaning of the holidays? Or is it more about the traditions of the holidays? Christmas and Hanukkah are deeply rooted in family customs and it is often those that are missed -- not necessarily the different religious views. For example, gathering with family, lighting the Menorah, playing dreidel games, decorating the Christmas tree, and hanging wreaths and ornaments. Participating in these invokes a sense of belonging, comfort, identity and reinforced values. Rather than getting bogged down in that which separates you, think and discuss what bonds you: similarities in the meaning of the holiday traditions and mutual desires to maintain them... and dare I say indulging in latkes and egg nog?

For more tips on dealing with dilemmas check out my book BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life in 28 Days.