Once someone invents time travel, many of us will line up right after Halloween for the first ticket to January—blip past Seasons Greetings and all things holiday. For now, however, we scuttle on through, worrying about how to seat divorcees and spouse-number-twos around the family turkey. Take a look at these dos and don'ts for the holidays.
Don't cling to visions of a Norman Rockwell family moment. That happens only in paintings.
Do consider family problems when planning celebratory gatherings. If your brother drinks too much, avoid a dinner party and throw a dry holiday brunch instead.
Don't travel out of guilt. Have an honest conversation with your family about how difficult it is for you to make a trip during the holidays. Suggest visiting, say, in February, when you'll have more time to really see one another. If they don't understand, consider that there may be something wrong on their end.
Do be flexible with your partner. Some traditions are definitely worth fighting for—but you may be able to let others go.
Don't force yourself to revel. If office parties or family gatherings are painful, honor your need to celebrate in your own private way.
Don't isolate yourself. Seek out kindred souls and spend time with them. If you're newly divorced, join a support group, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or shop for elderly neighbors so you have some human contact.
From the November 2002 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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