Ask Kari: I’m bored with our big family holiday gatherings. Do we still attend this year?

Dear Kari,

I am feeling torn about the upcoming holiday season. I like my family and in laws most of the time, but I don’t know if I want to spend another boring Thanksgiving or Christmas with them. The last few family occasions have left me feeling disconnected and sad, as hardly anyone puts effort into connecting with each other, people sit like lumps on the couch. Help me decide, do I invite everyone over or should I just keep it small to my immediate family members (my husband and our children)?

--Feeling Bored with the Status Quo

Dear Feeling Bored with the Status Quo,

I hear your pain, as I think that most family systems get stuck in a rut as each person assumes their role at family occasions. Consider this: try sharing one holiday with your extended family and bring a game into the mix. Tell everyone about the game ahead of time, so that they bring their energy to the gathering. Watch to see if people engage further when there is a planned activity. If so, this is a new tool to use when your family gets together to help mix things up. If not, move forward with your branching out to celebrating holidays with people who you connect with and matter most to you. Good luck!


As published in the November 2019 issue of Connections.

About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and the owner and Clinical Director of Issaquah Highlands Counseling Group (IHCG), which is now Kari O’Neill Counseling.

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