In anticipation of your upcoming holiday gathering, you plan, prep, bake, decorate, wrap, and fantasize about everything you ever imagined coming true. And while we all have expectations of happy times spent with family and friends, sharing, and laughing, oftentimes, it doesn’t happen quite the way we expect it, or does it?
Well, not if you are in my family, LOL. Holidays can be stressful. And not as picture-perfect as the Hallmark channel. We may have to face that relative that drives us crazy, the one on drugs wrecking the happy vibe, or even that hyper niece or nephew that can’t stop bouncing off the walls, and the sugar cookies aren’t helping. It isn’t easy, but rest assured you are not the first person to find the Holidays a challenge. So, how do we make it through without making ourselves stressed to the max?
I come from a large, loud Italian family that loves to push buttons and create drama. And I’ve learned a few things over the years you might find helpful.
1.PRAY IN ADVANCE. Pray as you get ready. Pray on the way there. Lay the seeds of positive vibes by preparing the way for good fun. Prayer never hurts anything and certainly helps everything. Pray for your heart’s desires. God can handle it, I promise. You can honestly tell him to please shut Aunt Susie’s mouth from hurting my feelings. Soften her heart to see me with love and then wait and see how she acts. I bet it is better than you had anticipated.
2. BE ON TIME. I was late a few times for a Holiday celebration, and they will never let me forget it. It’s all I heard about for years. I was labeled the annoying late bird. Don’t give them a reason to give you a hard time, be on time, if not early. It took me a long time to lose that negative label, but I did. I did it by being on time for all future events.
3. DON’T TALK POLITICS. These days nothing good will come from a conversation about who is right or wrong in their choice for leadership. Change the subject, leave the room, or strike up a conversation with someone else about anything else.
4. HELP THE HOST. Whether it is to clear the table, set the table, wash, or dry the dishes, it doesn’t matter if you help. Don’t ask, don’t wait to be asked, just do it. A little kindness goes a long way and can help to relieve the stress looming in the room. (Proverbs 25:22) says, “In doing this, you will heap burning coals on the head, and the Lord will reward you” This scripture implies melting one’s heart with burning shame.
5. SPECIAL DIET. If you have a special diet, whether chosen or for health reasons, don’t expect your party to supply what you need; bring it yourself. It will take a load of pressure off the host, who may not know where to begin to fulfill your need and if they do surprise you with the effort of adding a recipe with your dietary needs, great! More food for you to eat.
6. Don’t TALK ABOUT THE PAST, unless it is a happy memory. Nothing, and I mean nothing good, will come from rehashing past wrongs and irritating an old wound. Let it go! Save it for another time, or just let it disappear from your mind.
7. BE THANKFUL. Life is so short and sweating the small and big stuff is not healthy. Enjoy the time you have together with friends and family. Fill your heart with love for them, where they are, not where you are or where you want them to be. Jesus said in (John 13:34), “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Notice he said as I have loved you and not how you love me. Jesus’ love is merciful, generous, inviting, and always receptive to us no matter what we do; or how we do it. We can be guilty of sin and wrongdoing, and he will still look at us with so much love and patience that we feel as though we are the only ones in the world. Take that kind of love and celebrate the family and friends this Holiday season. You will be happy you did, and I bet you even enjoy yourself and your company.
—By Dawn Rusinko
Great advice!! Thanks for sharing your experience, strength n hope for a blessed Christmas season !