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Manage These 5 Unrealistic Expectations For A Happy Family Holiday

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Everyone remembers that scene in the movie “The Santa Clause” where Tim Allen is watching a TV video of how to cook a delicious turkey dinner and then the camera pans to Tim’s actual kitchen where the turkey is on fire in the oven, and he is spraying it with a fire extinguisher.  Often, that is how it turns out in real life when we try to live up to unrealistic expectations for the holidays.

When our dreams and expectations of the holidays don’t turn out like we plan, we are disappointed, depressed, stressed out and feeling anything but festive. Those family and friends that are spending holiday time with you don’t get to enjoy the real you. Avoid setting yourself up for disappointment by getting rid of these five unrealistic expectations for the holidays.

  1. Creating the perfect Holiday. This year, you are going to create the perfect holiday by inviting all the relatives for Christmas dinner and choosing the perfect gift to fit everyone’s tastes.

Everyone has one or two relatives they don’t really get along with. There is no rule that says you have to buy a gift for every relative in the family. No family is perfect, so there are no perfect holidays. Ask everyone to bring a dish and make Christmas dinner a potluck. Don’t serve alcohol so drunken behavior will not be a problem. Take a group photo and let that be the gift for every relative.

  1. Expecting people to change because it is the holiday. We are programmed by TV and movies to expect people to be cheerful and have a giving spirit at holiday time.

Unfortunately, a leopard does not change its spots. If someone is usually grumpy or sees the glass as half empty, they will likely continue to do so through the holidays. There are people that are tight with their money and somewhat selfish, so don’t expect them to open their wallets and go out of their way for others during the holidays. You cannot change other people, so focus on your own behavior and hope it will be a model for others.

  1. Expecting to be Super Woman. When you try to do too much, you end up stressed out and exhausted. Then you don’t have time to spend with your family. Don’t forget the reason for the season. Determine what’s really important! You don’t have to do or get everything single-handedly.

Most of the fun of the holidays is getting everyone in the family involved in the baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping, etc. Many hands make light work and happier spouses.

  1. Becoming Martha Stewart. TV and magazines blow up holiday expectations by showing videos and pictures of perfectly decorated cookies and beautifully dressed Christmas trees and mantles.

You do not have to bake the perfect cookies. Choose one or two recipes that everyone will like. Stop trying to be the decorator on the front page of the magazines. Look through what you have and do enough to be festive. Forget about the rest.

  1. Unlimited finances for Holidays. During the holiday season, too many couples spend like there is no tomorrow to create a magical holiday. When January comes, many find themselves buried under a mountain of debt.

Money does not grow on trees. Just because it is Christmas, does not mean your finances suddenly improved. Set a holiday budget with your spouse and stick to it. You don’t want sticker shock when the bills come due in January.

Before the Holiday season gets too far along, sit down with your spouse, and decide what you can realistically do for the Holidays, determine the cost, and stick to it. Make this holiday happy, stress-free, and affordable by focusing on what counts—being together with family and friends.

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