People tend to have high expectations for the Holidays, a lot of ideas of what it should be, from decorations to food to family coming together in certain and specific ways. When things don’t line up with the shoulds, things get uncomfortable. This collision of what we think it should be and what it is is where most of the conflict and tensions rise.
My family is no exception to this. There has been a lot of shifting of what the holidays look like in recent years that has required reajustments of expectations, but this year has involved an especially uncomfortable shifting. It started with Thanksgiving, and now we’re faced with it again for Christmas. It’s not even close to what it used to look like.
So various family members are pissed upset. Different family members have different expectations — each with their own set of should be‘s. I’m seeing a lot of upset feelings and a lot of unwillingness to compromise, and there’s not much I can do about it. I’m willing to give my support where I can, but for the most part how everyone chooses to handle it is beyong my control.
I’ve already had a freak out over Thanksgiving, which I processed and let go. I think that experience has let me be okay with allowing Christmas to be whatever it’s going to be. At this point, it doesn’t matter to me what it ultimately looks like — it doesn’t matter whose house it’s celebrated at, where Christmas dinners happen, when the presents are opens, and etc., etc., etc. — just so long as family comes together in love and laughter.
Because that’s the important thing. Family and love and laughter (and maybe a few carols and some spiked eggnog and some good food). All the rest is just details.
If one can just let go of the idea of the holidays they have in their heads, they can enjoy the holidays for what they are — a gathering of those we love.