Have You Taken These 5 Steps for Happier Holidays?

by Diane Sweeney on November 11, 2013

RockwellFamilyDinnerAre you getting excited about your kids coming home for the holidays? I know I am. 

I did not expect my Navy guy to come home for Thanksgiving, and the other son hasn’t visited home (even though he’s only 45 minutes away) all semester! And they both will be here! I can’t wait! 

They will both arrive on Wednesday and then early on Thanksgiving morning we’ll go over the rivers and through the woods and the city to see the rest of the family in New  York. 

One son is excited about connecting with other relatives; the other not quite so much. 

And the balancing dilemma begins. 

The ‘kids’ are now adults too. With thoughts, ideas and plans of their own.  And not necessarily in sync with your plans. 

It’s a whole new world of holiday planning as your children return from college for the first time or now have a spouse or dating partner’s family to include in the mix.


5 Things to Consider For Making Holidays Happier


1. Set your priority for the one meal, day or event that you want everyone in your immediate family to be in attendance. It might be most important for you for your kids to be at the ‘big’ family gathering or you might forego attendance there in favor of connecting as your smaller nuclear family for a special dinner or outing. Tell them ahead of time when and where you expect all to be in attendance.


2. Recognize that no one will be happy every minute of the holiday weekend. Discuss expectations from both sides and come to an agreement for what will work for most. And if they don’t want to participate in an outing or event – just let it go. Just let them know they are welcome if they change their mind.


3. It is as important for your children to connect with friends as it is for them to connect with family. Allow them the time to make plans with home-town friends. If it works for you, even suggest a gathering at your house. If that sounds daunting, then don’t make the offer. Realize your limitations. Don’t set yourself up to be overwhelmed.


4. The family dynamic has likely changed. If you still have one or two at home, the returning child will disrupt the ‘new normal’. Everyone can feel a little displaced, especially the one returning home. He or she is used to being independent, and now they are back in the fold. Allow time for adjustments for all. And open, civil discussion about the areas of disagreement.


5. Keep your expectations low, your patience high and enjoy the moment!


Life will continue to change over the next few years as each of you adjusts to this new phase of life. Eventually a new rhythm will develop. But it will take time. And you won’t want to regret missing watching your family grow into it while waiting for the new beat.


Happy Planning!


 To your best,






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