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Shawna Crabill, Marriage Therapist, Family Therapist, Individual Therapist, Couple Therapist, Therapist

In the movies, our families are either completely happy and functional, or completely dysfunctional and crazy. However, the actual truth is that most families are somewhere in between. If your family is not functioning well, the holidays may serve as a way to bring all of those problems into focus. We want to spend time with our families, but we don’t want to end up arrested, or curled up in a corner. If you need some strategies for coping with the members of your family over the holidays, I have some suggestions for you.

Tips For Maintaining Sanity During the Holidays

Are you looking for solutions to family trauma? Here are my tips for holiday madness.

  • Learn to say no. If you are overcommitted, and you can’t fit in Christmas shopping with your Aunt Edith, you need to say so. When you are allowed to say no, your stress level begins to loosen up.

  • Don’t try and make the holidays the time to resolve all of your childhood issues. Trust me, this is not the time to bring up your parent’s divorce, or the face that Mom liked your brother better. Enjoy the holiday without trying to solve family angst.

  • Are you a Republican? Are your parents Democrats–or vice versa? This is not the time to hash out political arguments. Resolve that no matter how many political references your loved one uses–you’re not getting involved.

  • Enjoy the small moments. Many of us put all of our happiness in the perfect Christmas or the perfect Hanukkah festivities–which never happen. Instead, notice the small memories of joy and peace the season brings you, and revel in that.

What if you have tried all of these, and the thought of your family coming over for the holidays leaves you cold? I understand. If you’re having problems during this season of joy, contact me, and let me help you cope.


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