Part of the joy of the Christmas season is deciding what type of Christmas to have.  Are we staying home this year, going to visit relatives we haven’t seen for a while, going to your mom’s or mine or both?  Some people make a circuit because there are multiple family gatherings on both sides and so the entire day is a trip around the world to make sure that everyone is connected and no one feels slighted or left out.

But often this joy can change into a burden or open warfare where people end up like toys in a game of tug-of-war.  Christmas is all about family and connections and spending time with each other which makes it a minefield when we are choosing who to spend those precious hours with and who not.  You can see the relief on people’s faces when the whip out the excuse of having to work that day, of having a baby that can’t travel, of needing to deal with a sick or elderly relative, because it saves them from having to confront the issue of saying “I’m not coming to visit you this year because….” and give the actual reason.  Or having to go and visit them when it’s the last thing they want to do.

Christmas can create uncomfortable and possibly negative obligations along with all the festivities.  Which makes it one of the times when you most need to ‘put your own oxygen mask on first’ so as to make sure you are around to help others.  Christmas is just as much about you and what is best for you and would bring you joy as it is about giving joy to others.  If you are going through the motions gritting your teeth and faking it until you can get home, you’re not spreading much joy to anyone unless they are completely oblivious or just don’t care.  If you are putting on the Christmas holiday for the entire family…again…working yourself to the bone for the ravenous hoard and then cleaning up afterwards and having an exhaustion hangover for the next week, perhaps it’s time to think about escaping to a resort for the holiday.  Let everyone fend for themselves and figure it out because me and mine are going to go drink champagne and look at the city lights instead.

This year, think about what would bring you the most joy in the holiday.  What would you really like to do.  Then weigh that with what needs to be done and what you want to do for those you love.  Is there a sweet spot in the middle somewhere?  Is there a way you can create the holiday to resemble that?  And wouldn’t everyone feel better if you were happy this year?  I mean, if the US Congress can actually compromise about anything (and I heard the angels singing when they passed that budget yesterday) then you could probably find a way to make this holiday into something resembling happiness for everyone you care about, right?