WRITTEN BY Felicia Kashevaroff
As we’ve discussed, the holidays tend to be a total shit show for adults. In our efforts to create magic and joy for our loved ones, we end up creating mountains of work, anxiety, and conflict in our relationships. Sometimes the joy and magic are worth it, and sometimes we need to admit they’re not. But if a whole year goes by without reflection, we tend to forget what worked and what didn’t.
The Purpose of a Holiday Post-Mortem
Here’s a holiday post-mortem exercise you can do to learn from your experiences this year that might make next year more balanced and peaceful. Before you start, take a moment to rest. You may need a day, a week, or a month. Give yourself ample time to recover from whatever the holidays brought your way.
Preparing for the Post-Mortem Exercise
After you’ve determined how much rest you need, put an hour on the calendar when you and your partner can come together calmly to do this exercise.
Conducting the Post-Mortem Exercise
- Take turns answering the following questions. Listen to your partner WITHOUT interruption and WITHOUT judgment. Set a timer to make sure you each get equal time to reflect.
- What was the best part of our holiday celebration?
- What was the most difficult or challenging part of our holiday celebration?
- Where did I need more support in the holiday preparations?
- Is there anything I wish I had started earlier?
- Are there any activities we could add, eliminate, or do differently?
- Each partner should take notes while the other partner is talking. Reflect the notes back to make sure you’ve understood them correctly. If not, make the necessary adjustments until your partner feels they have been heard accurately. Do not argue or pass judgment on your partner’s observations.
- Congratulate each other for getting through another holiday together and perform some closing to the exercise. This could be a high five, a hug, a shared meal or a cocktail; whatever feels authentic and comfortable to you both. Then put the notes away until next year.
- If taking notes on paper, store the notes with the holiday decorations you access earliest in the season, review together when you pull out the decorations. If taking notes electronically, set a reminder to review them together early in the 2023 holiday season.
Seeking Additional Support
Schedule a one-on-one session with us if you’re struggling with this exercise and want guidance. We would be happy to help.