Wendy Warner is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with couples, children, and individuals, Wendy also enjoys teaching the premarital classes for all couples planning to marry at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Macomb.
Christmas cards mailed, check.
Christmas shopping completed, check.
Ready for family gatherings, hmmm?????
Maybe your holiday meal plays out like a Hallmark Christmas movie, but for most folks it does not. It can be nerve-racking to go where unresolved issues are hinted at with an air of tension. Maybe grief hangs heavy in the room due to recent loss or some parties are barely speaking to each other from last year. How do you enjoy time with family during the holidays and navigate the possible pitfalls?
Think about who will be there and what is going on in their world right now. Do they need extra patience and TLC given what they are dealing with? Is there someone needing a hug and a judgment-free zone around them? Be that person to provide it.
Do you have a family member who communicates with verbal jabs? Then don’t be surprised by it or better yet, steer clear. Head for the smiling face that looks genuinely happy to see you. Be that smiling face for other folks as they arrive.
Remember there are NO perfect families. But it doesn’t mean we have to settle for dysfunction served up with pie each year. What are you doing to extend acceptance to a relative with a different political perspective? Are you engaging the sullen teen who looks forgotten? Go a little deeper than the weather or sports in your conversations.
You might enjoy yourself more than you expected and help someone else enjoy it too.