We all have a holiday story: Uncle Joe who drinks too much and tells offensive jokes at dinner; old sibling rivalries revived; our own sudden reversion to childhood behaviors the second we walk in through the front door.
We might love the holidays, but find ourselves trapped in a recurrent family drama year after year. A romanticized version of family life promoted in holiday songs, television ads, magazines and stores throughout the country would have us believe that “home for the holidays” involves crackling fires, roasting chestnuts, warm embraces and comfort.
But, in reality, during this season of family gatherings many experience tension, conflict, shame, embarrassment, irritation and disagreement. And, for better or wore, what we remember about holidays is usually more about family, gathering together and spending time with loved ones, than about any one particular gift that we receive.