Have you ever thought about how normal the Griswalds really were? Did you ever catch your dad checking out women like Chevy Chase often did in the National Lampoons Christmas Vacation movies? Have you ever had to put up with unexpected and unwanted relatives crashing your holidays? Did you ever know someone who became so busy either because they were overwhelmed or just so careless that they might actually forget their own child just like the McCallister family in Home Alone? If you are like many other people across the tristate– and the world– who also came from dysfunctional families like the Griswalds and the McCallisters, don’t be alarmed. It’s pretty normal and laughing at ourselves might be just the medicine we need.
Things are tough and the holidays are already stressful enough. With nonstop parties and events, fighting fatigue as well as other shoppers, and extended time with extended family members– one is sure to fall apart at least once before it’s over! Add in the lack of sunlight, freezing rain and snow, and memories of people lost. Sadness often envelopes people and it can be relentless to fight that depression. It is a time of year for reminiscing, regrets, and hopefully, with the right tools, one of renewal too.
Of course getting plenty of sleep and relaxation is important to battle the viruses of the season by keeping your immune systems healthy but there are a few other things to to help de-stress your holidays with relatives. First, don’t try to fix any old problems that may still be lingering– this is not the appropriate time to reveal to your parents that you still feel angry about unfair treatment as a kid, especially in front of others not related to the past problem. Second, stay away from political, social, or religious views, or other issues in which you might clash. No matter how happy and comfortable it can be, you might be surprised at the tension that often arises in these kinds of “friendly debates.” Finally, if you have lost someone special to you or your family, start a new tradition. Remember that your loved one would most likely be appalled at the pain they were causing and create new, happy memories. It’s good to remember them but not to dwell on how different the celebration is without them.
As we snuggle up to watch those favorite holiday movies, let go all all those irritating holiday blunders that are bound to happen and remember that this is precisely why we watch these movies again and again– because we can remember something fondly from our past holidays: they might be swarming with annoying people ready to take your parking space or jump in front of you in line, but the holidays are also full of laughter and love.