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He Said Dear HSSS, With the holidays in full swing, I find myself exhausted already. What used to be fun has now turned into a cacophony thanks to too many relations. Would it be awful to just have my immediate family over to celebrate the peace of the season rather than all the aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews? —Sticky Sitch, Walnut Creek She Said: Well, I know I don’t have to tell you to be grateful that you have family when there are those who have no one, right? Of course you love them all, but you bring up a legitimate problem: the obligations of the holidays. Hosting a party for 24 is not for everyone although we all know people who move the furniture around and turn the living room into a dining hall. Let them. You can speak up and say, “Extended Family, this year we’ve decided to keep it small, and focus on our nuclear family for a change, because we never get to see each other any more, does anybody mind?” Do not comment on the look of relief on their faces. But let’s remember the basic rules of etiquette. 1) You cannot exclude your children’s spouses. 2) Make sure nobody in the extended family will be alone. 3) Don’t invite best friends now that you have room at the table—that’s what New Year’s Eve is for. Good luck navigating the most wonderful time of the year, everyone. And be kind to each other. Exceedingly kind. A L I V E E A S T B A 18 Y d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 6 WITH ROBIN & SHAWN She Said He Said: There’s nothing awful about downsizing your holiday plans as long as you are still spending time around those you love. Some people loathe the holidays because of the chaos that comes with them. But if your intentions are to reduce the stress and try to take a more enjoyable approach to this holiday season, then I think you should be commended for that. Every year the holidays become more commercialized than the year before, and as a society we have lost the true meaning of celebration and love. Expectations of big parties and gifts have come to dominate the season when we should really be focusing on what’s important—love and peace. It sounds like the idea of a BIG family gathering is weighing on you, and if that’s the case, you won’t have the energy or time to enjoy what is supposed to be a reflective and peaceful time of year. Robin has given some good pointers on whom to include in the festivities. I suggest you follow her guidelines and keep things simple and joyful. Robin and Shawn are hanging up their advisor hats to take on some exciting, new challenges. You’ll find Robin living it up as the new Director of Marketing and Communications for VisitTriValley.com and Shawn focusing on his passion for helping improve the lives of those around him.They wish to thank you for your questions and for not taking life too seriously. Happy Holidays everyone!


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