Holiday Expectations: Part I

Holiday Expectations

This post is Part 1 of a 3 part series to get you gearing up for the holidays. Enjoy!

The holidays are a very special time. Everyone is busy, spends too much money, and wants it to be perfect. For a lot of people, the holidays are stressful. Family time feels obligated and you just can’t seem to get on the same page as your sister, father in law, or mother, etc. Everyone arrives to their holiday party with a certain expectation in their head:

“ everyone will be together”

“everyone will arrive at 3 pm”

“everyone will have a good time”

“Mom won’t mind if we are a little late”

“Dad won’t mind if we leave a little early”

What expectations are you setting yourself up for this holiday season?

So how do you live up to everybody’s expectations? What happens when your family stomps all over your holiday vision, whether they meant to or not? I want to hear your feedback if you have been in situations like this. How did you handle it?

Something that can be helpful is to prioritize. Just like you did on your wedding day. You probably handed a list to your photographer, wedding planner, etc, and said, “don’t miss these moments”. Setting your expectations in line with your priorities allows you time ahead of the event to figure out what’s really important to you.

Then, communicate these expectations to your family members. By telling your family what you are most looking forward to, it allows them time to prepare and plan and also tell you what their priority list is as well! This can also reduce some miscommunication disasters, think, “I thought you said 5 pm not 3 pm?!”.

Next, implement a strategy called, “radical acceptance”. We will discuss this concept in more detail in Part 2, but the quick and dirty definition is identifying what things in your reality you can or cannot change and then accepting, without any if’s and’s or but’s, the way that things are. Sometimes crappy things happen, radical acceptance comments that feeling like you have been targeted, or treated unfairly adds unnecessary suffering to the already less than ideal situation. Know that just because you communicate your expectations doesn’t mean that people act accordingly. Things come up right?!

So, take a deep breath, acknowledge your feelings, identify your reality and move forward. Take a quiet moment to thank someone that your family is together for the holidays and be grateful for the time you have with them.

Happy Holidays!


For Part 3: click here

For Part 2: click here

Published by annkendig

I am a mental health and addiction therapist in Cincinnati Ohio. Happy exploring and may all beings be well.

5 thoughts on “Holiday Expectations: Part I

  1. That reminds of wanting to take a family picture during Thanksgiving! So I told everyone what
    I hoped to do. Later, a family member, not the most favourite picture taker, says, ok, let’s get this over with…ha! It worked. All laughed.
    Traditions do change through the years! Thankful we will be together.


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