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Top 10 Ways To Have The Best Holidays Ever! 

The Christmas holiday season will soon be upon us. And with it will come the hope that this one will be truly magical. However, many of us quickly get bogged down in busyness, stress and old patterns. Here are 10 ways to turn that dynamic around and get that holiday magic back again.

  1. Give yourself a break. Perfection-even perfect happiness-just isn’t possible. Let your best be good enough. Make a budget for both your time and your money-andstick to it. It really is the thought that counts.
  1. Make conscious decisions. Get clear about what you really want to do over the holidays before compromising with others. If you don’t have a clear plan and clear intentions, it’s easy to get swept along by others’ desires. Even if you do compromise later, get yourself clear first.
  1. Shorten your to-do list. What do the holidays really mean to you? For many, it’s about family and friends and spirituality. If an action or to-do item doesn’t add to your holiday spirit, scratch it off.
  1. Say no when you want to. It’s very liberating- I promise! Try it and see- it sounds simple, but too often obligation trumps desire. When faced with options, choose the one that would make you happier.
  1. Limit obligatory activities. If you can’t avoid certain events, limit the time you’re there.
  1. Take good care of yourself. The old standards help keep stress at bay: eat healthfully, exercise, drink lots of water, and breathe deeply. Schedule time for relaxation and fun.
  1. Start early. To avoid a last-minute frenzy that can bust your budget, start shopping or making presents now.
  1. Ask for help. Reject any notion of martyrdom. The burden of preparations should not fall upon one person. The more specific you are in your request, the more successful you’ll be.
  1. Establish new traditions. If you have experienced a major life-changing event, such as a death or divorce, consider doing something you’ve never done before over the holidays, such as travel to another country or take a cruise.
  1. Get support. If a glorious holiday season feels completely out of reach, you may experience the holiday blues. Many people do.Don’t beat yourself up for feeling that way.

Reach out for the support you need.

 

Some people like their in-laws. Some of us win the lottery, and get on with our significant other’s family just as well (if not better) than we get along with our own. For everyone else, though, getting along with the in-laws can be tough. In some cases it can be downright Herculean. If you’re not one of the blessed few who have common ground with your in-laws, then you should keep this list of tips in mind. Especially around the holidays.

5 Tips For Dealing With The In-Laws

Tip #1: Set Boundaries

This can be awkward, but sometimes the best thing to do is to sit down with your in-laws, and talk about your boundaries for you, your significant other, and any children you have. Be reasonable, and keep things light, but make sure you communicate clearly what you expect, and what you need from your in-laws. This might lead to some head-butting, especially if you have grandparents who want to spoil your little ones, but it’s also the best way to get results. Remember, you’re all adults here, and you should be able to solve things just by talking them out among yourselves.

Ideally, anyway.

Tip #2: Take Time For Yourself

If you get along well with your in-laws, then being with them might feel refreshing. Just like spending time with good friends. However, if you have to stay on your guard all the time, that can quickly sap your strength. Remember to take a break, and to catch your breath. When you feel your reserves getting low, it might be time to take a nap, go run some errands, or get lunch with some friends. Whatever you do, make sure it will relax you. The key to making sure you can deal with your in-laws is to never let the pressure get higher than you can take. That’s how fights start.

Tip #3: Prepare

An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure, or so the old saying goes. When it comes to dealing with your in-laws, this is astonishingly true.

You know them. You know what causes arguments, and you know what smooths things over. So, before you spend any time with them, do some preparation. Maybe that means planning a family meal so you can all spend the evening together to start off the get-together on a high note. Maybe it means taking a day or so for yourself so you’ll be ready to handle the pressure of spending time with this part of your family. Think of it like stretching before a workout; you’re less likely to hurt yourself if you go in prepared for what’s coming.

Tip #4: Make Sure You And Your Spouse Are On The Same Page

Coping with your in-laws can be hard. Coping with them alone can be an impossible task. So make sure you sit down with your significant other, and talk about what you need from them. Don’t make it about you versus your in-laws, because that can lead to hurt feelings all around. Instead, make sure your spouse knows what you need from them, and that you both agree on how to handle certain situations. You need to be a collaborative unit, instead of working separately.

Tip #5: Don’t Take Them Personally

Your in-laws are just people. Sometimes their comments, habits, or way of being might be abrasive, or exhausting, but you need to ask when it’s being directed at you, personally, and when it’s just how they are. Because a lot of the time, it may have nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. And if it’s their problem, you shouldn’t stress yourself by making it your problem.

By Sylvia Cochran

Are you combining your spouse’s children with yours this Thanksgiving? His/Her, mine and ours is not always a recipe for blissful success.

Instead, there is a good chance that underlying emotional currents will make this Thanksgiving meal memorable for all the wrong reasons. Celebrating a grace-filled Thanksgiving takes a lot of effort on your part — but it is well worth it.

Recognize That You Are the Norm – The University of Houston reveals sobering and enlightening step-parenting statistics. Figures show that 50 percent of youngsters are currently raised in blended families. This dynamic is quickly eclipsing all other types of family setups. A somewhat surprising statistic points out that over 50% of second/third marriages that end in divorce are caused by the children. It is clear that children have a lot of influence on family dynamics. Holidays — including Thanksgiving — are prime time for stress and strife.

Recognize Why Kids Can’t “Just” Fit In – There are feelings of betrayed loyalty and the fear of betraying a biological parent’s allegiance. There are new family members to get to know and adapt to. Competition between half siblings is common. Thanksgiving traditions vary. Holiday customs are different and beloved tasks may go by the wayside in a new family.

Recognize That Taking Vows United You and Your Spouse, Not You and the Children – You new wife may have promised to love, honor and obey; your new husband may have sworn to cleave unto you until death do us part, but your step children have taken no such vows. They are simply along for the ride. Do not expect them to live up to your vows — after all, they were left holding the bag the first time around. If your spouse is a serial-marriage partner, there is even less of a chance that the children might willingly give their hearts.

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