Trumping the Christmas Gathering

Dear Barb:

Christmas is just weeks away and I can feel anxiety building in me! I’m one of the middle girls out of six in my family, and when we get together it is chaos! Some of us live halfway across the country, and the only time we all get together is Christmas at my parent’s home. It starts good, we say our hellos, get caught up, have a few drinks and then it starts. It’s almost like we revert to when we were kids. We start competing about who is doing the best, whose house is the biggest, who has lost the most weight etc. Sometimes our significant others get involved and things escalate. I feel sorry for my parents, well, mostly my mom, because my dad escapes to the garage. I am sure we love each other, but something happens to us when we get together. I’m dreading Christmas and I’m not sure what I can do about it. I have tried not participating in the banter but the others carry on and nothing changes. I need some advice! Tormented Tina.

Hi Tina:

With the nice weather, I’m not sure Christmas is foremost in people’s minds, however it is approaching. The scenario you describe is familiar to many families. It is difficult to change the family dynamics unless everyone is on board. Getting together at your childhood home can trigger old memories, some happy and some not so happy. Perhaps you could change things up. For example, try taking turns getting together at each other’s homes, or maybe a weekend getaway. Put some distance between yourself and those unpleasant childhood memories. Also, you could all agree before you meet that you will only discuss pleasant, happy childhood memories. I’m sure this is not enjoyable for your parents either. I assume they are getting on in years and these gatherings will become increasingly difficult for them. Open the discussion with your siblings by forwarding this letter to them to see what kind of reaction you get. Let us know how you make out. Thanks Tina.

Dear Barb:

I am saddened by the results of the American political election and that Donald Trump is going to be the new president. I can’t understand why the American people would choose someone like him, so rude and ignorant. I understand Hilary wasn’t a good alternative, but at least she had some experience. It feels like the country is going into an abyss! I am not an American, but whatever Trump does will affect Canada. Why are people so uninformed? Just saying. John.

Hi John:

Thanks for taking the time to write. It is unfair for you to assume everyone who voted for Trump is uninformed. We can’t assume they did no research before deciding to choose Trump. A lot of American citizens were unhappy with the present system and, to them, Trump represents a much needed change. The American people have spoken and now we have to give Trump a chance.

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