At this time of year it seems that everyone is publishing their guide to the holidays. I have already seen blogs on items such as ‘preparing your house’ for the holidays, ‘getting ready for overnight guests’, ‘preparing the perfect Christmas Dinner’ and even ‘keeping your pets safe’ over the holiday season. So far however I have not seen anything on maintaining your relationships over the holiday season, so the goal of this blog is to try and address this gap.

The opportunity of relational challenge and conflict over the holiday is pretty obvious. This can come from within our direct family unit or the extended family present in person or otherwise. Issues over expectations, food, presents, sleeping arrangements and chores are all up there as sources of conflict in addition to issues from holidays past returning to taint the current season is good Dickensian fashion.

So how to Prepare;

1) Be Clear About your Expectation’s, this should include the practical (who is doing what) but also the emotional and psychological. So often we expect others to ‘feel’ the same way as we do about the holiday and bringing people together. That is probably not the case and can lead to a disconnect in both thoughts and feelings.

2) Be Realistic, the plan that we have in our head for what is going to happen and how folks are going to feel may be a mind trap construct that is doomed to let us down. Rather than expecting everyone to get along and be nice to each other continuously, organize strategies for how you want to respond when the inevitable blow ups do occur. This is something you can share ahead of time and then bring people to as a way of resolving conflict to ensure feelings of hurt or upset are resolved and healed rather than simmering under the surface.

3) Pick Your Battles, as parent of young and teenage children my partner and I are continuously reminding ourselves of this. But guess what, the same mantra applies to parents, grandparents and in-laws…. Bad behavior during the holidays is not the preserve of the young. The older generations may be just as adept as lighting the fuse and sitting back to watch the show.

All of these concepts will be instantly recognizable to users of the Mandt System program. The final comment I have to share will also be familiar and that is to try and make the majority of our interaction positive…… remember Albert Bandura this holiday season.

Simon Kemp – CEO