Reader question… “I’m dreading Christmas. With everything we buy costing more, financially we’re just barely getting by now and I know there isn’t going to be much money for buying gifts. Our kids aren’t the problem. The problem is my relatives. Some of them talk about Christmas gifts and shop for Christmas gifts all year round. They have gotten very upset the few times I have suggested that we all tone things down a little. They will not even consider a simpler, less commercialized Christmas. Is there any simplistic answer to this dilemma?” –Kyra L.

This question touches on a situation that is a raw nerve for many people. Although Christmas celebrations with relatives could… and should… be happy gatherings, the holidays often bring so much emotional baggage with them that they end up being more stressful than fun.

Since Kyra’s family is resisting any hint of change, there may not be a solution that will make everyone happy. Some families are open to discussion and new ideas… and other families definitely are not.

Early morning after another ice storm

I’m asking for ideas here… How have you handled similar circumstances? What do you like best about your extended family holiday gatherings? And are you making any changes this year because of the current economy?