Fifth, share the load. Ask for help. Let others give you a hand for a change. Many helping hands make for a lighter load. If you decide you really do want to have the family dinner at your house, give some thought ahead of time, to how others can help you so that you aren’t a one-man band. Again, this is no time to be a hero. Let it be known that things are changing for you — you need help.

Finally, keep your purpose clearly before you and establish your own traditions. What is meaningful to you? Do you even know what that is? Do you want to take in the Handel’s Messiah again, or is it time to have a simple meal with friends instead? Do you want to have your extended family over, or is it time to just relax and enjoy the festivities with your immediate family? What is your idea of the perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas? Are there special religious traditions that are important to you? Be true to yourself. Consider the meaning of this holiday season -- thankfulness for God's blessings and for God's love for us through His only Son. Celebrate, but celebrate in a way that brings joy, happiness, and meaning to this special time of year.

Dr. Hawkins is the director of The Marriage Recovery Center, where he helps couples in distress. He is the author of over 30 books, including When Pleasing Others Is Hurting You, Love Lost: Living Beyond a Broken Marriage, and Saying It So He'll Listen. His newest books are titled  The Relationship Doctor's Prescription for Healing a Hurting Relationship and  The Relationship Doctor's Prescription for Living Beyond Guilt.  Dr. Hawkins grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and lives with his wife on the South Puget Sound where he enjoys sailing, biking, and skiing. He has active practices in two Washington cities.

Read more about The Marriage Recover Center on Dr. David Hawkin's website at