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By: Alison Downs

mistakes header

tired woman on benchHolidays can bring up a variety of tricky emotions: guilt, regret, sadness, joy, envy...and as imperfect people, we might not always deal with these emotions as well as we’d like. But don’t worry—if your holidays weren’t as merry and bright as you hoped they’d be, there are still ways to recover.

Overspending

This is a very typical holiday problem: you bought a gift for one friend, but now the gift you bought for your other friend looks too small in comparison; or maybe one grandchild has a larger pile of gifts than the other, so you buy more in order to balance things out. If you’re holding holiday get-togethers in your own home, you might have spent too much on a new serving platter or décor.

Whatever the reason, it can be easy to “overdo it” during the holidays, so try not to beat yourself up too much about it. After all, we’re all susceptible to marketing ploys once in a while! If you fell victim to overspending during the holidays, there is hope:

Address the problem head on. Do it now!

This is good advice for all problems: whether you maxed out your credit cards, had an emotional meltdown over the turkey, or insulted a family member, don’t try to hide from the problem or delay dealing with it—it will only make a mountain out of a molehill. Dig out your credit card bills immediately, or the phone number of the family member you told off, and steel your nerves.

Apologize…and be honest

It’s perfectly understandable that the stress of the holidays gets to people, and this is especially true if this happens to be your first holiday since experiencing a loss. No matter what went wrong, own up to your involvement in the matter—the other party will appreciate you for it. You might want to explain why you reacted the way you did, but at the same time, take care to ensure you aren’t trying to make excuses for your actions.

Make it up to them!

While sometimes a sincere apology is enough, other times you’ll really need to go that extra mile. Did you forget to invite someone to Thanksgiving dinner? Perhaps invite them over for a social visit and cook their favorite meal, instead. (Be warned, though—apologies mean nothing to credit card companies! If you went over budget with your spending this year, ‘make it up to’ your credit card company by always paying more than the minimum due on your bill.)

Don’t be afraid to call in reinforcements

Whether you need someone to talk to, get advice from, or you need an unbiased third party to act as a mediator between yourself and a relative, don’t be afraid to reach out to other friends to help you mend fences. Resolving conflict might feel uncomfortable at first (no one likes feeling like they’ve done something wrong!) but it will help you form stronger bonds in the long run.

At the end of the day, remember that we’re all human. If your holidays were less than stellar, acknowledge that and learn from it. Have you had particularly difficult holidays? What will you do differently next time around?

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