Can Holidays be Easy-Going?

11/29/2017 08:05 pm ET

Can Holidays be Easy-Going?

That time of year has come again and all the stress it provides comes with it. Cooking elaborate meals, buying gifts, decorating, and trying to make it fun. How do people do it so that it’s less stressful and actually easy-going? Trying to be flexible and meeting everyone’s wishes and needs can be tiresome, not fun. How can that change this year?

Parenting Tips for Making Holidays Easy-Going and Fun!

1. The first and foremost way to make holidays fun is to focus on the kids, not the adults.

2. If you’re the host you can make the rule that gifts are only for kids, not grown-ups. This saves money and decision-making and shopping trips.

3. Speaking of shopping trips, try going on line and having presents delivered to your house or apartment. If you like going to stores, try going at lunch breaks from work to avoid crowds in the evenings when everyone leaves their jobs.

4. Share the cooking, unless you’re a super cook who finds it fun. Involve the kids so they can feel a part of the meals. It’s messier but lots more fun.

5. Don’t expect everyone to show up. It doesn’t matter. The people who want to get together will and they’ll enjoy each other. Don’t take nay-sayers personally.

6. Clean your home before the guests arrive if you must. Remember it won’t stay that way! Some people clean after everyone leaves instead.

7. Remember this isn’t a performance, just a holiday. Your guests aren’t your audience. They’ve come to enjoy you, so relax and have some fun.

8. Keep the alcohol to a minimum or skip it, so people keep their good humor and stability.

9. Just like sharing the cooking and serving, share the clean-up. Everyone takes part if you want. If you’re more particular and like to clean things your own way, just say so! It’s your home; let others respect that.

10. Everything doesn’t have to be prepared and cooked at home. If you’ve invited vegans and meat eaters, cook what you like and buy the rest. You don’t have to be a culinary expert that satisfies everyone’s needs from scratch. If you like to bake, do so. If not, buy what you need or ask others to bring what they like.

11. Traditions are nice if that’s your thing. But don’t hesitate to start your own traditions. It’s your home; your party; make it pleasurable for yourself and you’ll be the best host ever.

12. Don’t fuss about a dress code. Wear what makes you comfortable and the same for the kids.

13. Mind your manners. Please and thank you go a long way when there are lots of people.

14. Don’t think bigger is better. A small intimate holiday where you really get to talk with folks is very pleasurable. Sometimes in fact more fun than a crowd.

In other words, make the holiday your holiday, not what you think people expect of you. If you’re the host, you’re in charge. Someone’s going to do or say the wrong thing. Don’t let it hurt your feelings. That’s their problem. Let it roll right off you. If you’re the guest, let the host be in charge! As the guest, help in any way you can to make the host feel they’ve done a great job and you’re appreciative. If you’re flexible, and can just be yourself, then you can be easy-going.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Visit her website for more guidance: http://lauriehollmanphd.com.

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