It’s Advent and that means it is time to get together with family and friends. It can be a time for memories to be made and familial bonds to be formed and strengthened. It also can be a time of tension and stress. Pushed and pulled by grandma and grandpa and mom and dad and siblings and cousins, we sometimes can feel like avoiding holiday visits.
Combining the need to accomplish all the holiday tasks on our to do lists with the requests for our time from family and friends can make us feel overwhelmed. How can a family balance the desire to visit with relatives and let everyone see how big the kids are growing with the need to set some boundaries and have some time for just parents and children to create their own family traditions?
As Catholics, we are called to consider the needs of those we love. Parents need to be very careful and prayerful as we make our holiday plans. It is important to be honest about our own needs and expectations for the holiday. We also must acknowledge that our children and parents and grandparents and siblings have needs and expectations as well. When all of these expectations match, the holidays are wonderful. Many times, though, expectations clash and we must find a compromise that everyone can live with.
Each family will find a different path to a happy holiday, but one key is to keep the lines of communication open. It’s important to really listen to each other and work together to make a plan. Being open and creative with ideas for get-togethers can spark new opportunities. If we let our relatives know how much we love and care for them, we will be able to work out the details and have a much more stress-free holiday season.