As we approach the holiday season it’s natural for emotions to run high, whether it’s the cheerful anticipation, the stress of preparations, or the challenges of balancing it all. There is often added pressure to attend gatherings and to show up for and please many people. To protect your well-being, prioritize quality time with loved ones, focusing on connections rather than obligations. Communicate openly and honestly about your needs and feelings.
Practical advice on communicating expectations with family during the holidays.
Choose the Right Time and Place.
Ideally, it should be a quiet and relaxed setting where everyone can sit down and focus without distractions.
Express Your Feelings Honestly.
Begin the conversation by sharing your feelings directly. For example, you might say, "I wanted to talk to you all about something that's been on my mind regarding the holiday season."
Clarify Your Intentions.
Clearly state your intentions for the conversation. Explain that you want to ensure a peaceful and enjoyable holiday season for everyone.
Share Your Boundaries.
Politely but firmly communicate the boundaries you'd like to establish to protect your peace during the holidays. Be specific. For instance, "I'd appreciate it if we could all agree to keep discussions about certain topics, like politics or personal matters, off the table during family gatherings."
Explain Why It Matters.
Share why these boundaries are important to you. Use "I" statements to express your feelings and concerns. For example, "I've found that discussing certain topics can lead to tension and stress for me, and I want our time together to be enjoyable for everyone."
Open the floor for discussion and feedback. Encourage family members to share their thoughts and concerns as well. Be open to compromises or alternative suggestions.
Set Mutual Expectations.
Work together to establish mutual expectations for the holiday season. This might include agreeing on specific topics to avoid, setting a schedule for family gatherings, or discussing how conflicts will be handled if they arise.
Thank Everyone for Their Understanding.
Wrap up the conversation by expressing gratitude for everyone's understanding and willingness to work together. Reiterate your desire for a peaceful and joyful holiday season.
After the initial conversation, be sure to follow up with family members as the holiday season approaches. Remind them of the agreed-upon boundaries and expectations and continue to communicate openly if any issues arise.
Enjoy the Holidays!
With clear expectations and open communication, you can look forward to a holiday season that's more peaceful and enjoyable for everyone involved.
For more, view the Guide to Navigating the Holiday Season. Here we share mental, physical, financial, and relationship tips to guide you through the season with mindfulness and strength.