Good, bad, indifferent or ugly, ’tis the season where we deal with family.  Issues, behaviors, expectations, quirks and just being with each other.  Now’s the time.  Questions abound like how to be together, when to be together, do we have to be together and the answers and how we get there are a psychological road map to who we are.

This year there seem to be two themes appearing in all the todoing:  nobody’s got any money and let’s do it completely differently than we’ve ever done it before.  The first is fairly simple. Got no money, ok, so let’s let go of merchandising the holiday and truly celebrate it by loving each other and spending time together.  Whoot!   But just discussing this option brings up such anxiety and stress that sometimes it can derail the entire holiday.  When did consumerism become the reason for the season?

The second is really a challenge between good boundaries, good communication skills, and parsing out what is meta-message and what is just logistics.  If a group of people have a tradition for how and when they celebrate Christmas together, in this complicated world of divorced parents, adopted families, married and blended families, putting together Christmas is not a simple endeavor. It can be as complicated as a formula in astrophysics.  And changing one little piece of the event like when Dad and the new wife get to see the kids can throw the whole thing off.  So when dealing with “how are we doing it this year” before musing out loud and starting a drama that will scar people for life, think about what it is you want and need, keep good boundaries for yourself, then find a place and a time to communicate what you need to the appropriate people and be willing to listen, to negotiate, and to compromise.