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Landmark in the News

Conflict-free Celebrations with Family and Friends transcript

CBS Los Angeles KCAL-9, November 30, 2011

Host 2: This is the time of the year to celebrate with family and friends. It is also a potential time of conflict and stress and it could all come to a head around the holiday gatherings.
Host 1: Aww, but you can get through the holidays conflict free. Josselyne Herman-Saccio is a Communications Expert and she’s here to help us. Welcome
J. Herman-Saccio: Thank you so much for having me.
Host 1: I think a lot of people start to get nervous this time of year. We figure the guests are coming. Some of them are going to stay for a while and they’re here at a time when everybody is busy and it can be very stressful. Should we be preparing in our minds right now for what’s – ahead?
J. Herman-Saccio: Whatever you prepare in your minds usually doesn’t come in handy in the moment, right?
Host 2: There you go.
J. Herman-Saccio: And it is very stressful and it can be very tense and overwhelming around the holidays, because you never have enough time to do what you think you should do, all of the things you need to get, all of the gifts, all the food. And then nevertheless, you know, you end up at the table with your family and with your friends and then how do you even stay focused then without being distracted by your pictures and your expectations of how people should be, how the food should be. So, at Landmark Education we do all of these relationship seminars and we’ve come up with a very simple way to have a fight-free holiday –
Host 2: Whoo!
J. Herman-Saccio: Because all those expectations are just a recipe for fights, don’t you think?
Host 2: Do tell.
J. Herman-Saccio: I know. I’ll tell you. It’s a three-step process and the first thing is you ask yourself this question: What is your picture perfect holiday? So I know, for me, it involves people wearing red and the food is, you know, lovely and nobody is playing video games in their room. They’re all at the table.
Host 1: Music quietly in the background.
J. Herman-Saccio: Exactly.
Host 1: The candles are lit.
J. Herman-Saccio: It’s just perfect. Glasses. They’re not filled with anything, but there are just glasses on the table, just sparkling with the candlelight. What’s your picture perfect?
Host 1: It sounds a lot like yours.
J. Herman-Saccio: It does, right?
Host 1: Just a peaceful, calm time with family and friends.
J. Herman-Saccio: Yeah. And you know, if you think about it that’s the first question is what’s your picture perfect. But then, the second question is whose picture is that? Because if you really think about it, you didn’t create that picture from nothing. It came from somewhere, either from your parents, your grandparents, a photo spread you saw in a magazine, a movie –
Host 2: Normal Rockwell. Yeah.
Host 1: Right.
J. Herman-Saccio: Yeah. Mine is part Norman Rockwell, part It’s a Wonderful Life, sort of a combination
Host 2: There you go.
J. Herman-Saccio: Where did yours come from?
Host 1: Yeah, probably from what we’ve seen in the media. We get this image that’s created for us.
Host 2: Sure.
J. Herman-Saccio: Yeah. And so we inherit it, right? So then, when you notice that you didn’t create it what you’re free to do is really look at what’s really important to you, because when it comes down to it, the perfect table is not going to be what really lights up your holiday. So you can invent a theme that is really getting at the heart of what the holidays is for you, to guide you like a compass in your holiday season. So it could be being together. It could be being loving. It could be being gracious. Whatever is really important to you, you use it as a compass to kind of cheque yourself when it looks like you’re going to get irritated about something or upset or a fight is on the horizon. You ask yourself: Okay, if I were being true to my theme of being loving right now, what would I say or do?
Host 2: Ahh.
J. Herman-Saccio: And not only does it help you in those moments of actually being in the holiday event. It can help you in your prep too. For instance, last week for Thanksgiving we came up with a theme for our Thanksgiving – everybody was coming to our house for Thanksgiving, 15 people, the whole thing, right? So we came up with appreciation as our theme. So I got my kids involved. I have three of them. We made a big tree for the door. So as people walked in, the leaves were things that we wrote that we were appreciative about in our life. And then the place cards were people’s names and then a tree for them with leaves of what we appreciate about them and as they walked in they got to fill out a leaf about what they appreciated about their life. So the whole room was just dripping with appreciation and it kept us, you know, focused on that rather than all of the things that can happen, like when my son spilled Ginger Ale all over the perfectly set table. You know, that could be a potential upset, but it doesn’t have to be if you have that compass, if you have that theme. Because really, what’s important to you is the point of the holidays, you know? I think those are some of the things that we remember too. When things do go wrong you’re going to remember that he spilled Ginger Ale and that you were able to laugh about it I think.
J. Herman-Saccio: Yeah.
Host 1: So we have to go in with a sense of humor as well.
J. Herman-Saccio: That’s right. Exactly. Because when your pictures get in the way of having a great time with your family and friends, that’s a shame. It’s a wasted opportunity. Life is short, you know? This is an opportunity to not just survive the holidays, which we do sometimes, right? But actually enjoy and embrace the holidays and have it be about togetherness or love or appreciation or connectedness and be able to practice being with people in your life and your situation and yourself, exactly how you are, exactly how you aren’t, without all of those expectations in the way.
Host 2: It all comes down to what’s really important for you then.
J. Herman-Saccio: Yeah.
Host 2: Very good.