How often do you enter November with vision of an old-fashioned, family holiday? “This year will be different,” you say to yourself and any family members who will listen.
I’ve given up this fantasy, and choose instead to be content with a Griswold Christmas. (If you haven’t seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, rent it now and enjoy the reality of the holidays. WARNING: Sexual innuendo and one instance of X-rated language.) The lowered expectations on my part have improved the season for me and my ill son.
But, what about other family members? Those who only come when invited for a family event. Those who expect everyone, including our ill loved one, to behave in a manner befitting a Curry & Ives scene.
Most of these family members just need to be educated on what the holiday social gatherings do to you and your ill loved one. They need to understand why expectations need to be lowered so all can enjoy the family time on their own terms.
I came across two resources that may help you with the holidays. These are resources you can share with other family members and friends, to help them understand that Mr. Curry, Mr. Ives, and Mr. Hallmark were presenting only a vision of holiday celebrations, not fact.
Mental Illness: Coping with the Holidays is from Mental Health Ministries. This downloadable pdf brochure tells why the holidays may not be holly-jolly and how to cope with it.
10 Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving with the Dysfunctional Family is a featured article in PsychCentral’s November newsletter. This newsletter also has an article of holiday blues. Both provide good and readable information and ideas.
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