The holidays are often called a time of peace, but many families feel stress and pressure during this time of year. When lots of loved ones come together, it is often a time that can be filled with discord and strife. While this is the result of some humorous moments at times (and have certainly made their way into a few holiday movies), this is also something that can make the thought of getting together for the holiday season a stressful idea.
Once the holiday season comes around, it is easy to get “wrapped up” in the many arrangements made and gifts bought. While many people feel stressed during the holiday season, others can feel lonely. It is a time of year when the act of coming together is most important. Families often do physically come together—plans are made and tickets purchased to places visited only a couple times a year. These feelings of stress can often be escalated by time spent with loved ones—especially when problems and disagreements over the year have been left unresolved.
A way in which we can fight against this strife is to work hard during the year to make the end of the year celebrations a time of peace. This is done by keeping conversations open and being willing to talk with one another when problems come up during the year. A way to combat this is to meet these disagreements head-on when they happen rather than allowing wounds to fester over time. If you have a problem with someone, let them know at the moment it happens rather than avoiding bringing it up. It is often said that it is wise to never go to bed angry. This concept can be taken further and applied to the idea of not staying angry with someone over a long period of time.
In this day and age, it is easy to disagree and never work out these arguments, especially with families being so spread out. It is not uncommon for family members to live in different areas of the country, and the world. Communication often happens over wavelengths we can’t even see—phone calls, emails and text messages. While communication has never been easier in terms of accessibility, this has also made it harder in terms of quality. Talking with one another over text and emails allows us to avoid confrontation and simply let issues remain unidentified until later on when we meet together and those emotions are still present and valid.
The irony of this disconnect comes, of course, when we realize that many of the gifts purchased for one another during the holiday season are the latest technological inventions. Whether this is a new game, a phone, a tablet or something else, these devices are helpful when used in the way they were intended. However, the gift itself can be a distraction just as the act of giving it can be a way to avoid discussing the important problems in our relationships.
Next time, perhaps we should try giving the gift of a conversation along with the wrapped presents under the tree.
Keep talking—and when you do, even in the less peaceful moments, it will pay off in the moments of sweet togetherness later on.