Robbo and Becci caught up with Brett and Kate Ryan, from Focus on the Family Australia, to talk about family traditions in the lead up to Christmas…
Managing the stress of family traditions can be challenging, but it can help everyone to have a more enjoyable Christmas if we can make an effort to be flexible.
Every single family does things differently.
“Every single family does things differently,” Kate says, “Unfortunately it can become quite stressful managing family, especially as things change and the kids have partners too. But it can be especially tough for those who don’t have family.”
“We always try to make Christmas a time to meet with friends as well. But now that we have married kids, all of that becomes quite a juggle. We sat down together early on to talk about what worked for each family. Then we added to that the extra challenge of Brett being born on Christmas Eve! Communication is vital, but these situations can be still be tricky to handle.”
Brett adds, “The constant is change. We have to adapt and be flexible with the change. There are things out of our control such as a loved one passing that cause our traditions and circumstances to change. But holding on to the little things can help, as well as deciding who in the family is responsible for each task. But sometimes we just have to let the traditions evolve.
“We don’t want these things to become a big issue, and we need to remember the reason for the season. Spending time together as a family and celebrating the birth of Christ is what matters most. We can still come together whenever the celebration happens, whether it’s a week before or a few days after. But clinging to traditions can cause tension for everyone. Be as flexible as possible, though we all know that’s easier said than done.”
Brett and Kate both believe in having an open-door policy. Invite someone in who is alone to be a part of your family. Christmas is the best time to extend Gods love, and what better way to do this than looking beyond ourselves to help someone else. Taking the focus of ourselves also has the added benefit of helping reduce our holiday stress levels.
If we go into the Christmas season with the right sized expectations, keeping an open mind and being flexible we can make it an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Listen to the rest of Brett and Kate’s message below.