#3 - Dangers of Christmas


A few years ago the Huffington Post featured an article on the 12 dangers of Christmas.  The article focused on fire safety during the holiday season.  They covered everything from your Christmas tree drying out and catching the drapes on fire to burning down your home while preparing your roast beast. The article had me thinking, what if there were other dangers during Christmas?  What if, aside from falling off your roof while working on your light display and over roasting your chestnuts, there were hidden dangers during the season of advent that most of us overlook. So I decided to write about the dangers of Christmas we often ignore.

Now, a few years later, I want look at a few more dangers of Christmas we might ignore or be unaware of. So here we go, another 12 Dangers of Christmas.

Family Gatherings

The movie Four Christmases is not too far off on my annual Christmas experience. Both my parents and my wife's parents are divorced. For the first few years of our marriage we would drive all over Northern Virginia and Maryland in a single day.

It was exhausting.

Exhausting is an understatement.

We realized when we found out we were pregnant that this was not the life we wanted for Camden. We didn't want him to go from one all out present opening sprint to the next to the next to the next and then finally get home exhausted.

Family gatherings are great fun for any occasion. I love seeing Camden play with his cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. He loves it too which is an added bonus. We've done our best to keep these events fun but it can be hard.

Tempers flare. Attitudes sometimes need to be adjusted. We forget why we're there.

As we head into Christmastide beware of family gatherings. Keep the fun. Keep them lighthearted.

And if you are gathering the celebrate Christmas, actually celebrate Christmas. Open gifts sure but talk about what it means for a baby to be born in the midst of chaos and then how that sweet little baby changed the world.

Here are some tips to survive your four Christmases over the coming week:

  1. Reflect on past experiences. Examine what worked and what didn't. If sleeping arrangements left you cranky and tired, think of an alternative. Shorten your trip or bunk somewhere else.
  2. Have an attitude of gratitude. Yeah, they may be annoying, but it's your family.
  3. Resolve previous differences. It is not helpful to go home for the holidays to rectify an old disagreement. Make a phone call, send a text, write a letter with the intention of smoothing out any misunderstanding before you go.
  4. Look for the humor. Try not to take everything so seriously. Sometimes you just have to laugh and say, "It is what it is".
  5. Exercise. Take your gear, plan to workout, and organize a family walk or active game. It's a great stress-buster and if nothing else you will feel energized and more optimistic.
  6. Invite a friend. Friends can offer a new perspective on your family and help create a more positive context.
  7. Organize an event that creates a memory. For example, create a cookbook. Ask relatives to donate stories or recipes to share with each other. Take pictures and make a photo album to share.
  8. Be yourself. These are folks who love and support you, no matter what. Relax and reconnect with your roots.
  9. Set your own ground rules. Don't' allow yourself to be baited into behavior that is out of your character.
  10. Keep a positive mindset. When presented with comment that may seem hurtful, ask yourself, "What's another way to look at that?"