When the family comes together, each of us remembers the happy moments, as well as the hurts, the mistakes, the regrets, and the jealousies. What exactly can I expect? Will I be able to identify the specific needs I may have?
Tips for celebrating Christmas as a family
Psychologist Anne Lucas recommends that you prepare for these days with your loved ones (and sometimes conflicting ones)
Prepare, wait and see
An invitation or phone call, for example, could include details about schedules, the development of the day, the arrangement of gifts, and even the menu.
By doing this, we allow family members who have been invited to Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner to properly plan and organize their time.
Knowing what to expect often helps us anticipate and overcome anxieties or fears, such as worrying that things will go too quickly or differently than we had anticipated.
Expectations and idealizations
How to recognize your expectations and idealizations
When the family gets together, each of us remembers the happy moments, but also the hurts, mistakes, regrets, and jealousies. What exactly can I expect? Will I be able to identify the specific needs I may have?
By idealizing this long-awaited moment, we run the risk of disappointment.
Let’s face it: getting a large group of people together is not always the best setting for relaxed and intimate moments. On the other hand, it can become more difficult to take into account the needs of each person as the population grows.
Keep the basics in mind
Do we gather to enjoy each other’s company and support those who are going through difficult times, or to gorge ourselves on food and gifts?
Make the celebration about our true priorities in life and tell the children that we are grateful to be able to attend Mass together, eat together and have fun as a family.
Live fully in the moment
Just as during meditation, we should be fully aware of what we are doing.
To create a joyful and jovial atmosphere, it helps to pay attention to the smallest details and use our senses (the fire crackling and crackling in the fireplace, the decorations on the table, the flavors and colors of the food, the gestures and laughter of the little ones, etc.).
And let’s try to make it more bearable so that everyone can enjoy it. Let’s also not be afraid to offer or accept help so that no one gets frustrated. Christmas goes by fast, so let’s be here!
The language of love
I am sensitive to the love languages of others.
I offer my help to my mother if she has organizational problems, and I take special care of my sister’s gifts if she values them highly. Each person has his or her way of expressing love. For some, it will be through acts of excellence, for others, it will be through acts of service, words of gratitude, or tender gestures.
Let us pay close attention to each other. If we don’t already know, we should be very familiar with the love languages of our loved ones.
Start a sharing meeting
To have fun with others, what can I suggest (and not impose): a song, a game, a prayer, or memories around a photo album? Christmas is not a time to overindulge, but to focus on giving to others.
Each member of the family plays a role in the relationship and the environment. Let’s each do our part; what can I contribute?
Make the most of the season
Christmas commemorates the birth of a child who came into the world to save us. Although it stands out for its simplicity, let’s not ignore the joy of being with one another, and let’s do our best to make it all go well.
It’s a party, so let’s enjoy throwing the dishes out the window if that makes us happy and let ourselves be surprised by the little things.
Reduce the excesses
Let’s not fall into gastronomic excesses, receive excessive gifts, or get too little sleep, which could ruin a moment of celebration. Decoration appeals to the heart as much as to the eyes.
Truce and peace in relationships
What if Christmas was first and foremost an opportunity for people to see others through their lenses and not as we usually do? What if I dared to approach my family members with an open mind and a fresh perspective as if I were meeting them for the first time?
Bringing the Christmas message back into focus shouldn’t be any more difficult if you have a positive outlook.
Mary and Joseph welcomed the unexpected at Christmas. Jesus fulfills both expectations and surprises.
He never ceases to surprise us, so let us be open to surprising ourselves. Let’s be willing to ask ourselves: good news? snow or warmth? change: place? menu? and improvise a surprise guest?
With information from aleteia.org