Find common ground with visiting relatives. All relationships (teacher-student, work colleagues, friends, partners, children, cousins) require that we come together around things we have in common: shared interests, respect for each other's good qualities, overlapping values, the appreciation of a good meal or a football game. Your family may not share your skepticism, curiosity or desire for personal growth. If not, don't go there, and don't let them draw the conversations into your areas of disagreement. Take deep breaths, exercise self control, and change topics. Save deep, painful conversations for another time. Trust yourself. Schedule coffee with sympathetic friends. It may be sad, but it is ok for you to grow emotionally and spiritually even if people you love don't come along.
This year, we are scaling back on gifts, giving Kiva gift gift certificates and home-made treats (lemon curd and spicy pecans), writing letters, making and listening to music, playing board games, and just spending time together, always the best gift.
What are your tips for celebrating the holidays?