STAYING home for Christmas may not be a bad idea after all.
The hustle and bustle involved in seeing family over the holidays can be physically and emotionally draining.
Especially if you're dealing with the demands of a houseful of relatives or attempting to amicably split the festivities between branches of the family tree that don't get along, it can be tempting to just stay home.
While avoiding kin altogether is probably not a good idea, taking a holiday off from trying to see and please all your relatives may be restorative for familial relations.
As best you can, make most positive the time spent with your family.
For some the holidays are a long-awaited time of family gathering, when relatives who are scattered throughout the country can come together and reconnect. In these instances, the hassle of travel may be the only thing putting a damper on the season.
For many others, however, cramming family time into a hectic few days can be a recipe for drama and bickering.
Family members who get along beautifully one-on-one may not mesh so well when they're brought together with mothers and grandfathers and aunts and all other order of relatives under one roof.
For those who fall into the latter category, making sure the holidays are a time of gratitude for one's family may involve some strategic scheduling and, possibly, scheduled time off from them.
Each person should try to be open to the possibilities of ways of spending the holidays, one being not even going if the end result is going to be more painful and destructive than not going.
Sometimes it's a matter of length or the timing of a visit. If the family expects a weeklong visit where you want to come for just a day, find a middle ground.
If the holiday is an emotionally charged time, try coming a week after or before. Finding a way that everyone can handle is going to be more valuable than trying to please everyone.
The key ingredient in navigating scheduling is communication. Telling your loved ones that you will not be there for the celebration can lead to hurt feelings and even more drama if you do not explain that you still want to see them, only on different terms.
Whatever the arrangement, make sure people understand the reasoning behind it. People like choices so bring up holiday scheduling early and give parents an option between Thanksgiving and Christmas, for instance. Make it a collective decision.