Have you noticed the mood of the country in general? People seem eager for a break from worldly tensions and anxieties teeming with typical holiday tensions. “Will I get everything done?” is replaced by “What in the world will happen next?” It’s time to haul out your holly, make favorite recipes, and gather with family and friends around the table. But it would help if you had a PLAN for the holidays. I’ll share mine with you with a few new additions from previous years 🙂
Firstly, No Politics
P. (No) Politics. If someone starts in about a highly controversial topic or political figure, ask them to pass the mashed potatoes. (Who doesn’t like mashed potatoes?) A brief interlude can move the dial to a simmer. You might find that asking a non-political question can turn the entire day around for everyone.
Another idea is to flip the conversation from politics to an interest in the other person. Use the 5 W’s and an “H” strategy. Ask who, what, when, where, why, and how questions about their interests. These require more than a yes or no answer. Remember what we learn here: Some come for an argument. Others come for understanding. Converse with the latter. Avoid arguments with argumentative people.
Moreover, the PLAN for the Holidays Includes:
L. Listen and Let Go- If you are quick to listen, you’ll be slower to become irritated with political views. I firmly believe in letting others hear themselves and defining their beliefs aloud. Sometimes, they are parroting what the professor said or what their favorite media outlet has preached. Let them own it. Just listen. It costs you nothing to listen. It does not imply tacit approval. They already know you have a different “take” on the issues. Some people have never heard themselves articulate their beliefs out loud. That’s a good reason to “get out of the way” and let them. It can be a real eye-opener.
L.- Let go of perfection. Perfection is the ruin of any holiday spirit. Do the best you can with what time, energy, and resources you have. Your best effort combined with your love is enough.
PLAN for the Holidays- Those Pesky Questions
A.- Answer- You do not have to answer questions you do not want to answer. Christmas holidays are not the time to ask, “So, when will you have babies?” Or, “Are you finally interested in dating someone else?” Or “Did you get your flu shot yet?” You get the idea. Some questions show interest. Other questions are nosey and inappropriate. People are not entitled to know everything about your personal life.
A.- Action, not Anger- Excuse yourself for a moment if you find yourself getting uptight. Use the restroom or offer to help clean up in the kitchen. Make a trip to the car because you need to “check on something.” Anger never works. Neither does the silent treatment.
N.-Never back down from saying “Merry Christmas.” It is a national holiday. If someone intentionally doesn’t respond, let it go.
With this in mind, Christians celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. Non-Christians celebrate Christmas as a national holiday. Some people don’t celebrate Christmas and don’t want you to, either. You have the freedom to acknowledge Christmas in the way you choose.
N.- Never yield the moral high ground to win an argument or to gain approval (aka people-pleasing)— especially at a holiday gathering. We know right from wrong. Do not go along to get along with something you know is morally wrong. You will lose in the long run if you yield the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God to someone with an amoral view.
Summing up, that’s the P.L.A.N. Perhaps you have other common-sense solutions that have worked for you. Let us hear them! Please keep your comments brief, respectful, and on topic. No naming or blaming high-profile people or political parties. None of these negative actions change anyone’s mind. We discuss issues intending to have civil, educational discourse.
Merry Christmas, one and all, as you PLAN for the holidays with Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. 🇺🇸
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