The holidays are a time to be with family but not every celebration involves peace and goodwill to all. Holiday stress combined with family get-togethers can turn into big blowouts.
Seattle resident Pedro Espinoza is expecting 20 loved ones at his home. Espinoza says the goal is “big family fun,” but he admits it can also be stressful.
Experts say it’s good to keep your sense of humor during these gatherings.
“The holidays can be quite funny and families can be quite funny. It's important to know when to laugh,” licensed therapist Kirk Honda said.
Honda says it’s important to manage your expectations and sometimes lower them.
“If we have this expectation that everything's going to be perfect and that doesn't happen, then people get upset,” she said.
Honda says he works with his clients to help prepare them for the holidays by talking through some of situations that could trigger problems.
“Value yourself; the way other people treat you doesn’t necessarily indicate your own worth,” he advised.
At the Crisis Clinic, they've seen their usual jump in hotline calls, including a number of family feuds.
“We can be an objective person to listen, and to be there and to help somebody come up with their own answers,” director Michael Reading explained.
Reading believes it’s important for people to keep perspective during these instances.
“Not forgetting the basic principle we come together because we are family, we do care about each other,” Reading said.
Volunteers and counselors will be taking calls at the clinic on Christmas, but said they believe call volume will be low.
Honda believes family interactions on Christmas can be a positive thing.
“Our families have so much meaning to us and if we can have a good relationship and good interactions, it can make us feel really good,” he said.
Honda suggests one way to make the day more meaningful is to take time to reconnect with loved ones and get to know them better.
“Saying I want to have a sit down with my grandmother, I want to tell my mom that I love her, going into it with those goals could be great,” he said.
The clinic’s 24-Hour crisis line is 866-427-4747