Your spouse wants a big Holiday do--not just the in-laws, grandparents, aunts and uncles, your respective siblings, their mates and assorted children, but also all sixteen cousins with their mates and kids, because after all, you rarely can get the whole family together, and--it’s the Holidays!

Which will mean borrowing plates, glasses, cutlery and all the rest to round out your supplies, scrounging up extra chairs and tables, preparing way more food than you’d anticipated (much less budgeted for), and how the heck are you supposed to deal with everyone’s highly individualized food preferences anyway?!

Part of you wants to “just say no!” emphatically, because given the hustle and bustle of the season, with its many demands and expectations, you don’t have the time or energy to deal with this new Holiday complication.

Part of you wants to swallow your resentment at adding another item to your already overwhelming to-do list, and “just say yes” in the interests of going-along-to-get-along. It’s the Holidays, for heaven’s sake, who wants to fight?

Neither solution is attractive. Submit and be cranky, refuse and feel guilty. Aargh.

There is an alternative that won’t take you too far out of your hectic schedule, yet will allow you to come to a solution that works well for both you and your spouse.

It’s a four step process:

1. Share your concerns with your spouse: availability of table setting, chairs, food prep, budget, etc.
2. Ask your spouse to do some research on how to address these concerns. Be willing to brainstorm with him how to address these concerns as needed.
3. Based on the research and your discussion, draw up a strategy that would allow the Holiday affair to take place without overwhelming either of you or blow your family budget for the next three months. Adjust as required: maybe the guest list changes, maybe a buffet set-up works better than a sit-down dinner, maybe you factor in asking relatives to bring selected dishes.
4. Examine the feasibility of the strategy. If it feels right to both of you, go for it! If it doesn’t, you’ll have honored your spouse and yourself through this interaction.

Happy Holidays!

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of nine best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. Visit,