by Sue Kranz
Season’s greetings to all of you! Hope you’re enjoying a holiday filled with love, laughter, and fun!
A few years ago, I discovered a YouTube video by Ellen Gelinas – humourist, educator, Choice Theory instructor, mentor, and friend. It’s short, funny, and profound. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched it, but it changed my holidays for the better.
Christmas used to look like this: First of all, it was always at my house because why wouldn’t it be? And somehow that turned into my buying most of the groceries and doing most of the cooking. There was turkey, stuffing, green beans, roasted sweet potatoes, corn, cauliflower, broccoli, mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, and gravy. I’m not really a baker, so if there was dessert, one of the girls made it or it was store bought, and a couple of times I made baked apples. And then there was all the cleaning and organizing before and after.
By the time I’d finished getting everything ready, I was stressed, feeling bitter and resentful that the expense and the work had fallen on me again, and I wasn’t fit to be around. My kids had been threatening to boycott Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all other family gatherings. Better to just skip the whole thing.But that year, after watching Ellen’s 6-minute YouTube video, I did things differently. Most of my kids are grown and gone now and have their own kitchens, so early in December I decided what I wanted to prepare for Christmas dinner: turkey, roasted sweet potatoes with garlic and rosemary, and green beans. Oh, and gravy and cranberry sauce.
It’s enough, but it’s a far cry from the turkey, stuffing, dozen or so vegetables, and dessert that we usually have. And I was okay with that. If no one brought anything else, it would still be simple, easily manageable, and delicious.Next step: I told the kids, “This is what I’ll be making. If there’s something else you want, bring it with you.”
Jocie, who usually makes the stuffing, was having a hard time figuring out when she’d do it because of her crazy schedule. “No problem. Then we won’t have stuffing. This is what I’ll be cooking. Bring whatever else you want.” Not only did she bring stuffing, but she brought a slew of roasted vegetables! My sister Kathy brought cheeses and crackers, Emily and Maddy brought desserts, and someone else brought wine.
The outcome? We had a relaxed, fun-filled Christmas together. Halfway through the evening, Emily put her arms around me and said, “This is lovely! Nobody’s upset, and nobody’s had a meltdown!” – clearly referring to me.
Interested in the tiny video that sparked my liberation from Christmas insanity? Here it is:
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Sue Kranz, Dec 2020 APSGO ENews
Want to know more about Choice Theory? Email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you PDFs of the booklet Who’s Driving YOUR Car? and the handout Six Things: How to create healthy boundaries. And as always, I welcome your questions.