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Christmas comes
Christmas comes and with it the long family gatherings. The only solution I found was to limit these to three days: the first day everyone’s happy to see each other, the second day old issues resurface and the third day is mainly dedicated to the counting of  the hours till the relief of departure. Sorry for the cynicism, but for some of us, it is simply not that easy. Any stories or suggestions on how to make Christmas Happy and Merry?
1. Just do it for the one day and avoid the other two!
2. Take off alone for a seaside town
3. Visit a dear friend
4. Note: in families it only takes one or two "bad" persons to spoil it for everyone
5. Minimize contact with family and have a circle of like-minded sensitive and enlightened friends
We usually have 10-15 people (and their dogs) over for a week or so at Christmas. This year it will be 11 extra people and (Thankfully) no extra dogs. Since I am a pastor and have Christmas Eve duties, the whole clan rolls into our house. Every year. And it is mostly great, but I have learned a few coping mechanisms: 
1. Have an accessible outlet.  (My son and i hit the golf course. In the snow, at night, at 10 degrees below, if necessary.)
2. Related issue: be sure you keep your regular exercise routine. 
3. Have a plan but be flexible. 
4. Be the first to love and the first to forgive. You will start something. 

Yes, long family gatherings. Sometimes they are great, but mostly there is "stuff" that occasionally goes right over my head. There have been times when, on the way home after Christmas dinner at the home of extended family, I would hear, "Did you hear what she said to me?" Then the whole diatribe rolls out. Now, I know I was at the same table, but I completely missed the nuances surrounding the family and extended family dynamics.

Some people (and likely you have some in your family) have just enough pride and self respect not to show what horse patoots they are in front of innocent elderly ladies they don't know (No, I'm not angling for an invitation to your Christmas table--I'll be up to my eyes in my own.).

Consider asking a guest that your family doesn't know, preferably a cute one with fluffy white hair whose feelings and sensibilities even they would never dream of compromising. Let her know it's a good opportunity for her to polish up her "little old lady" skills, including looking absolutely shocked at what she's hearing, or smiling sweetly, sadly at stupid, inconsiderate comments and pretending she doesn't hear them.

I'd love to try out for the part, but I know for a fact that many an aspiring actor or actress has now reached senior citizen status, and might enjoy the dramatic challenge. Good luck with this, and break a leg.
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Latest Post: December 30, 2009 at 11:47 PM
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