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Balancing Family Time During the Holidays

Nov 8, 2007
There are few times of year more demanding than the holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, winter solstice or something else, there's just so much to get done. Presents to buy, relatives to visit, the house to decorate... plus everything else that you have to get done normally.

One major stressor for many families is balancing your time as a family and visiting with relatives. This can be especially difficult if you have a lot of relatives in town and no one can agree to a calmer schedule.

However, agreeing to a more reasonable amount of visiting between families can make a huge difference in your holiday stress. Figuring out the best way to manage these things isn't always easy, and a solution for one family may not be a solution for another.

One simple thing to do is instead of going from house to house to house, agree to meeting times at a particular house or two. Rotate whose home you use or agree on one particular place, whichever works for you. Hopefully this will be more fun for everyone.

You can also consider spreading things out a little. Don't try to see everyone in one day. In my family there have been times where we've celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and even New Year's Eve or Day for out of town relatives.

Make sure you carve a little time out for your immediate family, especially if you have kids. You can have your special time be first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day or even at the end as a way for the kids to wind down before bedtime.

Some relatives may try to make you feel guilty about not going with their preferences. This can be a problem, and is why you need to come up with a plan that works for you. If you bring in the relatives involved in the changes you want to make you have a better chance of making things work, and some of them may be relieved at the idea of simplifying things. Others may not be.

In the rush to do everything your extended family wants you to do, it's easy to lose track of the meaning of the holiday you're celebrating. Taking a step back and looking at what really matters and ways to make the holiday season more fun for all concerned.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster offers a free newsletter for stay at home parents . She also offers more parenting tips at http://www.homewiththekids.com/family/
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