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Christmas time is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but if you’re not careful it could easily turn from beautiful to stressful in a blink of an eye. Here are a number of common questions we’ve heard over the holidays:

Why can Christmastime be challenging for individuals and families?

While the holidays are a time for cheer and celebration, they can also be stressful. The additional responsibilities that the holidays bring can stress a family’s already time-starved schedule.

How can we develop more realistic expectations for the holidays?

At times we expect the holidays to be perfect. Aiming for this perfection is a surefire way to turn holiday joy into holiday angst. Instead, focus on the the core of what’s important during the holidays–like spending time with those you love.

Please offer a few tips regarding developing healthy boundaries within families and how that can make for a smoother season together.

Family has a way of pushing our boundaries to their breaking point. During the holidays, it’s important to find a balance between being generous and flexible, but also standing firm when family demands are too much for you to comfortably handle. I find that often loved ones who step over boundaries don’t know their doing so, so make sure that your limits are clearly known!

What would you say to a family who consistently has disagreements about how to handle the holidays (how much time do we spend together and when, how much $$ do we spend on gifts — those kinds of things)?

It’s important for families to talk through the major pragmatics of the holidays. Set a budgets for both money and time in advance, so there’s not a conflict on Christmas Eve about where you’re spending the day tomorrow, or in Toys-R-Us about how much is too much to spend this year.

Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore Ph.D. is Founder and CEO at Thriveworks--a counseling practice, focused on premium client care, with 80+ locations across the USA. He is Private Practice Consultant for the American Counseling Association, columnist for Counseling Today magazine, and Author of How to Thrive in Counseling Private Practice. Anthony is a multistate Licensed Professional Counselor and has been quoted in national media sources including The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and CBS Sunday Morning.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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