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How to Avoid Holiday Headaches

From Associated Press

Here are a few simple tips to help ensure a harmonious holiday season:

Don’t get lost in the commercial maze. Tinsel and gift-giving are nice, but they are not the heart of the season. Consider giving loved ones the gift of time to just sit and talk.

* Remember that perennial problems don’t disappear just because it’s Christmas. If your brother drinks too much all the rest of the year, don’t expect that he’ll abstain over the holidays.

* Recognize that they may be your family and you may love them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you like them. So if someone really irks you, let it go. You can’t pick your relatives.

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* As you head down the interstate or fly across the country, imagine the family you’re preparing to see. Visualize each member’s personality and anticipate the things that might bug you. Then resign yourself and relax.

* Don’t try to do everything. If you plan on baking Christmas cookies, then forgo the homemade chutney. If you’re planning on stringing popcorn, leave the garlands and mistletoe to someone else.

* Go easy on the holiday commitments. You needn’t attend every open house or community sing. Sometimes it’s nice just to sit quietly by the fire, listening to Mel Torme and admiring the tree.

* Think about developing new traditions. Things change, and so must the rituals of childhood. The nuclear family should be elastic enough to accommodate working parents, growing children, death, divorce, remarriage.

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* Above all, remember flexibility and a sense of humor. Scale back expectations and impossible ideals. Even the Waltons have off days.


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