Where To Spend Your Holidays

Where To Spend Your Holidays.  Thanksgiving is typically the start of the holiday season.  With COVID-19 and the recommended caution, this information may not pertain as much as it did pre-COVID and will be helpful post-COVID.

Most couples dread the holiday season because of the issue of where to spend them.  Most families have holiday traditions and expect family members to keep them.  Some couples even dread the holidays as they are expected to spend time with in-laws and other extended family members who they don’t particularly care for.  Even when you have good family relations and communication is decent certain people can still get under your skin.  It’s these “certain” people that can make an already anxiety provoking time challenging.

adult couple has difficulties in relationship an both shows the finger at himself and herself

deciding where to spend your holidays

In Marriage Counseling it is recommended to put boundaries in place and set good limits so that individual and relationship needs are met by you and your spouse and your respective families.  As a Couples Counselor I stress the importance of being cognizant of knowing when to say YES and when to say NO to extended family members so that the couples ensures their immediate family needs are met.  I understand your respective Families of Origins want access to you and yours, but sometimes doing something different can be as beneficial as doing whatever it is you typically do.

As a marriage counselor in San Diego this seasonal period of time creates a lot of stress for couples as each can tend to want to go to their own parents’ home for the holidays.  There is no right or wrong way to celebrate the holidays.  Doing what is in the best interest of your immediate family is what any loving and understanding parent wants.  When there is a conflict among couples who cannot make a decision or compromise I offer the following options:

Option 1:  Divide the holidays where one partner gets Thanksgiving and the other gets Christmas.

Option 2:  Visit both – one set in the early part of the day the other during the later part of the day.

Option 3:  You each visit your own parents.

Option 4:  Don’t visit either family and start your own tradition at home.

Option 5: Go out of town and make it a vacation.

What you want to eliminate is a power struggle. With any decision being made it’s important that couples are able to dialogue and have a discussion where they can express their thoughts and feelings.  Showing empathy for feelings and validating each other’s positions shows you care and are being thoughtful when coming to a thoughtful decision.

For help in making this decision please contact me at (858) 735-1139.



Dysfunctional Families And The Holidays

Dysfunctional Families And The Holidays.  Who doesn’t have a dysfunctional family? There is no “normal” family as all families have their own set of idiosyncrasies. Dysfunctional families effect our emotional, psychological, and physical well being. As a Marriage Counselor I work with couples trying to manage the Holidays as Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a stressful very time for them. Spending time with in-laws is especially difficult if you “have to spend time” with in-laws.  I hear the “we always spend time with your mother” and “hardly ever spend time with mine.”  Power struggles tend to come up during the Holidays and they can turn the event and your relationship into a very unhappy situation.


Tips to get through the obligatory Family Get-Together:

1 – First of all you don’t need anyone’s permission to say NO, I’m not going.

2 – To avoid any possible power struggles it’s perfectly fine for each of you to go to your own family’s home for the holidays and enjoy their company.

3 – With that being said….be careful about resentments from past holidays.  – Declare an amnesty with whichever family member you are feeling past resentments toward.

4 – Avoid the person that bugs you. – Be gracious with a greeting then stay the heck away from them.  Don’t even establish eye contact afterwards.

5 – Develop and utilize coping skills when you are triggered. –  You can excuse yourself, take a walk, do deep breathing, go to the bathroom for a time out, remind yourself to stay in the here-and-now, stretch arms over your head to release tension, leave at a set time, etc.

6 – If you drink, don’t let the occasion become a reason for over-indulging to cope. This will exacerbate your depression and anxiety, as well as disable your ability to utilize your coping skills. Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol is a depressant.

7 – To offset that day give yourself a break. – Create time for yourself to do the things YOU love and need to do for your physical and mental wellness: aerobic exercise, yoga, massage, taking long fast walks or any activity that calms you down and gives you a better perspective on what is important in your life.


             dysfunctional families and the holidays
Attending family obligations are sometimes necessary to show the ones we love we care about them as a selfless act.  Just take care of yourself while you’re in their company.
COVID-19 and social distancing is a great excuse not to attend family gatherings. Family members are more understanding about not seeing one another as we are in a pandemic.