Tony Miltenberger is a husband, father, and follower of Christ. He is currently serving as the lead pastor at Restoration Church Centerville, ohio.

How I handle the holidays- a true confession.

I feel like I am at a point in my life where I just need to be blunt about things. I dread 90% of the holidays. 

Christmas tree.jpg

I get overwhelmed in crowds.

I find no value in Christmas trees.

I dislike the idea of putting up decorations then taking them down in a month.

Christmas lights don't entertain me.

Every Christmas carol sounds the same to me, and I still don't know the words.

Shopping for gifts feels like taking a pencil to the eye.

All of that honesty at once; I hope it wasn't too much for you. Because the next sentence is the most important sentence in the whole blog.

I love my family.

And my family loves Christmas. Therefore, I love Christmas. There are days when I feel like I married Clark Griswold and that is okay.

When I signed up for this husband and dad thing, I didn't fully realize what it meant. What I now know is that I signed up to put myself last. That when it comes to stuff just like this, my negative attitude has no place in the house. And although I am completely justified to feel the way I feel, it just doesn't matter.

If I want to continue to develop healthy relationships, I get to sacrifice what I want in order to strengthen the greater good. This is what it means to be in relationships: to sacrifice some things so that the relationship has a better chance of growing long term. 

Here is more good news- my family sacrifices, too. It is a give and take. We try to meet each other where we are. While my wife isn't always overly joyed that I don't favor this time of year, we talk about it and grow together. Sometimes we even do this without getting into an argument (a Christmas miracle)!

Do you find yourself in this situation? Are you in a mixed marriage where one partner likes the holidays and the other doesn't? Here are a couple of things that we do to help lighten the load:

1. We try to be honest about our expectations of each other. In other words, we ask ourselves what is really important, and what isn't. We pick our spots on what we don't want to give in on, and we try to be realistic.

2. We don't force feed our personal opinions on each other. This isn't about being right or wrong, this is about getting through the holidays so that we are happy. We try not to make each other into someone we aren't.

3. We created a codeword for when it all becomes too much. We used to say that I had to "go and let out the dogs" which really meant, "I'm starting to feel overwhelmed by Christmas and I need a break." Find a system that works for you and let your partner have the space.

4. Pray. Pray for one another, pray for family, pray for peace. 

Just remember that this is all about being on the same team, and no matter how you feel it is more about the team than it is about you.

How do you handle the holidays? Any coping skills that you would like to share?


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I smoke cigars for Jesus.