December 08, 2021
How to Have a Drama-Free Christmas with The Alessi Ladies | S2 E13

The Alessi ladies share how they're keeping the Christmas celebrations joyful and drama-free...all while managing a variety of major family changes!

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Does celebrating Christmas spark fears of drama and conflict in your family?

If so, you're not alone - and the women of the Alessi family have some solid advice and helpful tips to keep the joy in your holiday celebrations!

For the first time, all 5 of the Alessi ladies - Mary Alessi, her daughters Steph Alessi Muina, Lauren Alessi and Gabrielle Alessi, and her daughter in-law Richelle Alessi - gather at the Family Business table to share how they avoid excessive expectations and hurt feelings while celebrating Christmas - even as they navigate entirely new situations and evolving traditions.

You'll hear the unique perspective of two generations of strong, Godly women who have seen the best and worst of holiday celebrations - and lived to tell about it - so that you can enjoy a more peaceful and joyous Christmas with your loved ones!

Join our family business every week as we talk about life, and help you build a great future with your family, no matter what business you are in.

New episodes are uploaded every Wednesday! 

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Mary Alessi  0:10  
Welcome to another episode of the family business podcast with the Alessis. I am Mary Alessi. And today you are listening to all the women of the Alessi family. I am joined here today by my oldest daughter Stephanie. 

Stephanie Alessi  0:26  

Mary Alessi  0:26  
...Alessi Muina and our middle daughter Lauren Alessi, Gaby Alessi our youngest and the newest female to join the Alessi clan crew tribe is Richelle Alessi and I am just grateful that we're all here today, this is gonna be a fun podcast. I have no idea, we do have an agenda. But who knows what these girls what we're going to end up saying. So you want to make sure you tune into this podcast all the way to the end. Because it's going to be a good one. And we're going to talk about all things family, and the holidays, and how all of that gets managed. Because we do know when you bring in all the families together, there are a lot of things that happen. So we're gonna we're going to be talking about the drama, and the conflict and the difficulties and all the cooks in the kitchen. Yes, we are. Right ladies? 

Stephanie Alessi  1:14  
Oh yes. 

Gabrielle Alessi  1:15  
This is probably going to be the longest podcast because you have five women in one room. So...

Mary Alessi  1:19  
Which, Which reminds me, y'all flag us down? Yeah, we get over 30 minutes. So tell us a word 30 Because you know, we can talk. So I am excited to talk about this because we are as a family in a new season. 

Gabrielle Alessi  1:33  

Mary Alessi  1:34  
 Where traditions are in transition. Yes, I just came up with that preparing for this podcast, traditions are in transition. And our family, the six of us have had Christmas the same way every year. And you get that down. It's locked in and you know where you're going to be for Thanksgiving, and then you know where you're going to be for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And now all of a sudden, from one year to the next because these two got married in the same year? 

Stephanie Alessi  1:58  
Oh, yes. 

Mary Alessi  1:58  
Yes, they did. 

Richelle Alessi  1:59  

Mary Alessi  2:00  
Now it's bringing more families into the schedule and planning and making all that happen. So it's kind of crazy. I just want to throw this out here. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of this. How do you think it's going so far, Gaby with all these changes? Do you think we're doing a good job, we have some work to do?

Gabrielle Alessi  2:18  
I think we're doing a really good job. I don't I don't know what work we can do. Because we still haven't, we haven't actually practiced it and done it yet. So the holidays, this Thanksgiving and Christmas will be interesting and in a good interesting because we're also working it out. But I think we've done a really good job with everything. And we've done a great job of balancing everybody's schedules and not expecting and having too high of expectations of "Well you guys need to come on Christmas Day or we need to be together on these big days." I think we've just taken the pressure off of the actual days. 

Mary Alessi  2:49  

Gabrielle Alessi  2:49  
And we're just kind of letting it happen. And we're just enjoying each other when we can.

Mary Alessi  2:54  
And the last podcast that Dad and I just did and hopefully you listened to it. It's the one maybe before this one or a couple before this, we talked about that as a mom and dad, and how the changes in the conflict of the changes and really how you have to let go of your own sentimentality and that locked in tradition, "this is the way we've always done it" To keep the conflict and the drama down, you really do kind of have to restructure, yeah, and Lauren, you know, you have well, in the next few months, you're going to be done with your master's in psychology. And I have a feeling...

Gabrielle Alessi  3:27  
 In counseling.

Mary Alessi  3:28  
In  counseling. Sorry. 

Lauren Alessi  3:29  
 that's okay. 

Mary Alessi  3:32  
You're my third. I'll get it right. Hey, I know your name good. So there's that, right? and you.... you shared one time when Papa passed away, that when grief and loss comes not only when you lose something, but when you're adding to it, there's like a family restructuring.

Lauren Alessi  3:50  
Yeah, they teach you in psychology. So I'm not graduating with a degree in psychology, I'm graduating with a degree in clinical health, clinical mental health counseling. But in psychology, it's actually known that when you experience grief or loss, or even when you lose someone from a family, or there is an addition to a family, the family just naturally learns how to restructure. And I think we saw that when we saw Richelle being added to our family and also with Chris Muina being added to our family. And we also saw that when we lost our grandfather, you just kind of have to learn okay, even between aunts, uncles, cousins. 

Mary Alessi  4:28  

Lauren Alessi  4:29  
Well, who's gonna be the hierarchy now who's gonna be you know, the next in line? Well, okay, Richelle's added to our family. What does that mean about us? Muina added to the family. What does that mean about this? And although there's some, you know, great fear in that there's some beautiful moments in that. But yeah, it's totally natural for a family to experience that transition process.

Mary Alessi  4:48  
Yeah. And then learn the new people that are coming in - you - we're learning each other. And we have had our dynamic as a matter of fact, our Christmas days usually end up in play fighting. I mean, we're always.... the sarcasm in our family is off the charts. And I know a friend of ours, he's a pastor. He came and preached one Sunday. And he said, you know, sarcasm is really just a mask for bitterness. And I remember me and dad looked at each other like, uh oh.... we're very bitter people. Because our family if you can't handle being teased...

Stephanie Alessi  5:23  

Mary Alessi  5:24  
 you're not going to survive in our family. Because we tease each other, we call each other out. We try to do it in a healthy way. But then in the restructuring process, bringing in new family members, there is a - and we're in it right now, where we're kind of helping the newbies coming in know our heart and know our love. This is kind of who we are. So that's the setup for, I don't know which one of you want to go first. But you both got married, and y'all are bringing brand new systems and expectations into the family. 

Stephanie Alessi  5:57  

Mary Alessi  5:57  
So how's that going?

Richelle Alessi  6:00  
I think it is good. It's going great. I mean, it's it's new. So like you said, there's new things that you have to think about decisions that you've never had to make -  make before. And so you have that pressure of like, which one is the right one. Because you want to please, both sides of the family. But at the same time, you realize that it's now, you have created a new family with you and your husband. 

Stephanie Alessi  6:22  
That's right. 

Richelle Alessi  6:23  
And so then you're starting to think what are the traditions for you and me?


so in the middle of trying to figure out what you and me are going to be, then you also have, by Anita please my parents, and we please your parents, because we genuinely want to make sure that we spend equal time and every family feels loved. And like no one is better than the other. Right? Yeah. And so you start to think, and plan ahead. But what I loved is that you guys actually brought up Christmas plans back in July. 

Mary Alessi  6:52  

Richelle Alessi  6:53  
So all of us, me and Chris, at least are thinking about that, because I'll be honest, I was not thinking about that at all. 

Mary Alessi  7:04  
That's right. 

Richelle Alessi  7:04  
And so you bring it up. And I'm like, What's July, we have so much time, man there. It's right there. But just like a week ago, Chris, and I were like, Okay, this is what we're doing for Christmas. This is what we're doing. And so I think it's a process. Yeah, sure. Yeah.

Mary Alessi  7:20  
And you did that and bringing making that decision, because we talked about it, we share how to do that. It helps bring down the stress. Because Christmas should be fun. It's not even really about us and for us, but Jesus lets us share in his birthday. But when we don't plan out early enough, and have the expectations and the and really talk it out. And when you have plenty of time to talk about it. You can change your mind. Or you could say, you know, we thought about it, and we're thinking maybe we're gonna do something different this year, or we're not we're gonna stay close to home. But everyone respects each other more, because you're giving a lot of lead time to that. Yeah. Which brings the stress almost to none. So you can enjoy the holiday. Yeah, but yeah, chime in here because you and your new hubby 

Stephanie Alessi  8:05  
...have gone through a lot of transition in the past couple of months.

Mary Alessi  8:08  
Talk about it.

Stephanie Alessi  8:10  
 So much transition! Well, if you don't know the background, we we dated very quickly. We were older. So we knew we wanted to get married. So we got married within an 11 month time, including engagement. And about three months into our marriage, three or four months into our marriage, we got pregnant with our first baby. And she is 13 weeks growing. 

Mary Alessi  8:33  
It's a little girl.

Stephanie Alessi  8:34  
A little girl. She's in there and she - everything's great. But the transitions have been exhausting. But I totally see, I totally see how God takes you from glory to glory in those transitions, if you really just stay optimistic. And I was actually talking to a mom here at our church who had four kids. And she was like, people may think that my optimism is annoying, but it's-  for me, it's my survival. 

Mary Alessi  9:04  

Stephanie Alessi  9:04  
 I have to stay optimistic. 

Mary Alessi  9:06  

Stephanie Alessi  9:06  
 Yeah, my kid is drew all over the wall. It's okay. We'll paint it and look at how cute the painting is like, yes. And it's honestly, when you have to look at that and see a woman who has experienced so much transition in her life.

Mary Alessi  9:19  

Stephanie Alessi  9:19  
And she's so happy and healthy. And she has her sanity, because she looked at the the bright side. And when you marry into another family, you love them so much. You married the person so of course you love their family, but you don't know the differences until you get further into marriage. Like and that's when you realize, wow, okay, our families are different. We've got to really plan around this and schedule this right. And you want to make everybody happy, which is healthy because you want everyone to be happy.

Mary Alessi  9:50  

Stephanie Alessi  9:51  
It's the holiday season. Why not? But it's for sure, a massive transition. But if you look go look at those differences and you just laugh it off, and you smile through it, and you enjoy it, it can really save a Christmas. It's a Christmas miracle. And I know we're not even a year married, but just seeing how this, the pressure of pregnancy can that get put on you, where you're like, oh my gosh, we need to please a lot of people because this is the first baby like, we've got to be mindful. But if you just look at it and say, Well, this is the first baby, more people want to celebrate with us, more people want to get together, let's figure it out. Let's make it fun, then it's such a joy. You can't carry the worries, which I tend to do very easily. I can get very stuck in my worry. But if you just let it go, let things slide, laugh it off, enjoy. It's a funny memory, then you can have a great time.

Mary Alessi  10:53  
 You can't and you know, Steph, you -  the two things you said was your friend, four kids. I say this often. And I know it's true. Because I raised four kids, me and dad did together. Mostly me, but no, together. But it's not the type of person that can have four kids. It's what having four kids, the type of person having four kids makes you because you don't really have an option. And it turns you into Mrs. Optimistic because you don't really have an option. And if you take that to .... the children, they will beat you to do death with the toys that you bought them for Christmas. And then five minutes later, I don't like it. So no, it is -  it turns you into something that you realize I can do a whole lot if my mindset is "I have to let go some things that I think have to be a certain way."

Gabrielle Alessi  11:49  

Mary Alessi  11:49  
And with us as women, we do have this natural propensity. It's in our DNA. Yes, the minute we get married, a switch goes on. We are a little wife now. And we want to nest. I've seen it with you too. Yeah, you've already bought Christmas trees. You know, you've already bought pumpkins for decor in your house. I don't blame myself for that, I blame fully, it's in your DNA. But then, you know, you're -  you get pregnant and already there goes another switch. And you're nesting and you're thinking about babies. But you're thinking about more than that. It's the  - the dream of your own Christmas experience and projecting that onto your child. And it's so easy to want to get there so fast and have that experience. It's okay to say, okay, they're only going to be one, they're not going to remember this. Let's not fight over who's going to get the baby Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Let's back up and be really creative. 

Stephanie Alessi  12:44  

Mary Alessi  12:45  
And think about a way that can make everybody happy. But it doesn't infringe on what me and my husband need to do, which dad and I've been very clear from the beginning when you guys got married. Plan what the two of you want to do together right now this is your first married Christmas, make it special. And don't get stuck in the habit which this was the second thing I was going to say. Because we were talking about having fun and letting things go at Christmas. You can easily, especially women, get into the habit of instead of striking joy at the holiday, it creates the  - you start that first year with it being stressed out tearful, emotional, and then the next thing you know, the second year is the same way. And then 10 years goes by and Christmas is just not fun.

Stephanie Alessi  13:30  
And you've got a break. You've earned it. 

Mary Alessi  13:33  
 Do you want to chime in on that? 

Lauren Alessi  13:35  
No, I just find it funny.

Mary Alessi  13:39  
i The truth of that is huge. Because if you also take the dynamic from if you come from a broken home, and you've got to make it happen for now your dad and his new wife, and then your mom and her new husband, and this is real. this is for the majority of people in the world.

Stephanie Alessi  13:55  
Oh yeah. 

Lauren Alessi  13:55  
Can I say something for being the rest of the family with being in transition with two new family members and two married spouses? We'd say all the time. It's so much easier when they just tell you straight up Yeah, out of emotion. Hey, this is what we're doing because of this. It's funny, I'm looking at you like this as an intervention.

Gabrielle Alessi  14:17  
Lauren taking the time right now to let you know.

Lauren Alessi  14:20  
Right now to let you know, no. But it we talk about it all the time. Because there have been situations in the past like not recently, but situations way in the past, where we would see someone tried to like, not tell us straight up but like walking on eggshells, but that's not us as a family. As a family, like, it'd be so much easier if you just told us, hey, we want to go on vacation. And we'll be back for New Years. And we'll bring the baby along later but like this is what we want to do right now. Okay, cool. We might be hurt right now. But thanks for being...

Gabrielle Alessi  14:53  
and I think also if you don't mind if I can come in here but I think when a transition happens for like example the married and then also Stephanie and Muina having the baby. When a big transition like this happens, a lot of people just think, Oh, the change in the transition is just hard on the couple that's having the baby  or it's crazy for that one unit. And if there's other people like Lauren, and I, who are the single ones a part of the family, we, we tend to think, no, it's not on us. And and if you're in your family, and your family has a lot of married people in it, and maybe you're the only one thank God, we have each other. But you just kind of think, Oh, nobody really thinks about us. We haven't gotten there yet. But that transitions for the whole family and the baby in the marriage, everything, the marriage and the baby. Yeah, it is, it is a big change for everyone. That's a part of the family. And for the single ones, it's easy to think, well, you know, of course, it's nobody's focusing on me. But I think what you and I try to do, and we always hold each other accountable, is that we never focus too much on right now, at least for our lives. 

Stephanie Alessi  15:58  

Gabrielle Alessi  15:58  
Because I never want to be the person that's like, I'm just back here. And I'm just waiting. And of course, it's all about them. And then a year from now, I'm in where you're at, and I'm like

Stephanie Alessi  16:08  
It changes on you. 

Gabrielle Alessi  16:09  
Oh, my God, I totally did not enjoy that season, you know. 

Mary Alessi  16:12  

Gabrielle Alessi  16:12  
 And we don't want to get comfortable in the season that we're in. We don't want to stay too. And we're not rejoicing or getting or getting excited for you guys in what you're doing. So it's one of those things for if you're single, and your family is all married, don't get too stuck with where you're at. Right? Celebrate the transitions, be optimistic yourself, because we're all having to be optimistic about this change. But also just have fun and enjoy it and wait for your season to come and enjoy what's right in front of you.

Mary Alessi  16:40  
Yeah, that's so good. And you know, I think something that through life is the greatest lesson that we learn as we, especially for those of us who are Christians, but even if you're - if you don't consider yourself a person of the faith, it's so important to not ever adopt a mindset of entitlement, because it can come at any season in any environment. Entitlement can creep in, and it will destroy a family from the inside. 

Gabrielle Alessi  17:06  

Mary Alessi  17:06  
 So if you think for whatever reason, and I know we've had this conversation, you two have worked very hard. Because the three of you or four of you, there are four in this room -  are basically right around the same age, you're only about a year apart. So it's kind of difficult to process. Now we're at the holidays, and there's all this celebration around the marrieds. And then the one that has the baby, there'll be all the celebration around the one with the baby. And it's so easy to not see it through the eyes of the one who you think has it all, that they're still struggling in their process. And they're saying man singlehood was way easier.

Stephanie Alessi  17:44  

Mary Alessi  17:45  
And then the singles are like, I want to be married. Because all the attentions on you guys or you're where I want to be. That will never go away, no matter what season of life you're in. Because it'll never be enough if you don't die to that entitlement that tries to creep in. It's - this is kind of off the topic from our subject. But the reality is, most Christmases that got ruined in my sibling life, when we were growing up, even as adults with kids is somebody in the family felt entitled. 

Richelle Alessi  18:16  

Mary Alessi  18:17  
Somebody somewhere might have been a cousin or an aunt and an uncle that felt like they were entitled to something at the holiday they didn't get. And then five years goes by and we're not talking to each other. And we're like, what happened that Christmas? 1992? 

Stephanie Alessi  18:30  

Mary Alessi  18:30  
 And it really is an entitlement that can creep in because of expectation. 

Stephanie Alessi  18:37  

Mary Alessi  18:37  
And that's what the holidays represent for so many of us. And when you do mix it up, and you're adding broken homes and the dad, now he's got to make his new wife happy. And and his his kids too. You know, we pray for families like that. 

Gabrielle Alessi  18:52  

Mary Alessi  18:53  
Because it's tough enough. 

Stephanie Alessi  18:55  

Mary Alessi  18:55  
With our family, same mom, same Dad, your family too, your family, too. But in that, in that alone is hard to try to make everyone happy with the expectations. Were you going to be with the Alessis? I mean, is that where you're going to be? Are you going to be at our house? Are we going to get you at all? And so you know, and then let's talk about  - can we talk about something? Can we talk about it?

Stephanie Alessi  19:19  
can you go back to that entitlement? Because I think you need to break it down. Okay, that is because everybody is is everybody? What's the word? We're all going to have to face this one day in our lives. Yeah. And I think what I've learned and you we can go to your second part, I'm sorry, but that's fine. The transition season I have definitely learned can make you insecure. And just because the floor has been swept from underneath you, and you are left with just yourself and your choices that you've made. And so many people can look at the spouse that they've chosen to marry, can look at the child that, the children they have, the house that they live in, the job that they have, the family that they have, and just look at what they lack. Instead of saying, oh my gosh, I'm married to an incredible person. I have incredible children. And yeah, maybe my siblings in from over here or my parents, it looks like they're doing better than me. But I need to look at what I have. Because that is what makes you entitled. Yeah. It's so funny how you act like this victim who doesn't have enough, yet you feel like you deserve more. And it's like, so what are you humble? What Is it? Which means it's not, It's not right? No, if it leaves you feeling like that, then honestly, you need to just give it to the Lord and repent of it and shake that off. Because, like you said, in five years, it divides families.

Gabrielle Alessi  20:51  
It does, and it never brings you peace. Never. You're never able to enjoy your holiday. And here's something that I've noticed recently is if I can just understand and really believe that everybody's on my side. 

Mary Alessi  21:05  

Gabrielle Alessi  21:08  
You realize that everyone's on your side at all clicks. Yeah, the minute you go and say, my sister thinks her life first of all, that sounds so dumb. Why would your sister thinks she's better than you? I know, better than you.

Stephanie Alessi  21:19  

Gabrielle Alessi  21:20  
 Once you realize hold on your siblings understand you, your sibling, see where you're at. But also your siblings are so busy with their life, they can't be consumed with your life like, so it's this whole thing of they're on your side, and you're on theirs. So don't pit yourself in your brain against, against that person or them against you. I remember I had to walk through that recently, where I felt like somebody was always against me, because they would correct me too much. Yeah. Now I was like, Oh, my goodness.

Lauren Alessi  21:47  
 It's like recently, like two days ago.

Gabrielle Alessi  21:50  
 A new revelation. And I felt like no, but I felt like, wow, there's just so against me, and I just can't do anything r ight. That's the whole thing is I can't do anything. And then I sat and I thought, hold on, Gabby, just for a moment think they're actually on your side, because they're correcting you. It's because they love you. And they want you to succeed. Yeah, and everything fell into place. And it all and it only made me want to be around them more. And so I think when you're with your family, you're having Thanksgiving dinner or lunch or you're going in, you're having your Christmas morning and everybody's opening up presents, and the baby's in the middle. And yes, you don't get to open your present first, I'm talking to myself and the baby's opening first because now it's a new baby. I can easily say wow, they don't want me to open it, whatever. But if I just say, this is so much fun. I know. But this is so much fun. We're all on the same page. And we're all enjoying this. It makes your, your Christmas so much more memorable. And you don't remember it thinking, oh my gosh, I had the worst attitude. I can't, I can't remember how many years and birthdays that I had the worst attitude. I remember I had the worst attitude because I pitted everybody against me.

Mary Alessi  23:03  
Yeah, you're but your birthday was at the holiday.

Gabrielle Alessi  23:05  
That's another conversation.

Lauren Alessi  23:06  
 Just one thing I'm going to add, contentment only comes from experience. And unfortunately contentment only comes from a little bit of embarrassment. And I think it's so good for somebody who's walking through a season of maybe that victimhood and I don't feel like I have what I deserve. And there's not enough attention on me. And it takes somebody to be like you don't realize what you have you have one of the greatest families in the world or you don't realize what you have. You have one of the greatest husbands who treats you so right. And you feel a little Lauren. You know, but I remember there's, since we're talking about the holidays, there's Christmas time. Where Stephanie Yeah, she wanted a guitar so bad. And she wanted this particular guitar. Yeah, she's gonna forget about all of a sudden, she wanted to, like this black guitar, this Martin, whatever. And so my dad got it for her. And he's like, I'm gonna hide it until that's the last thing we're gonna bring out. So all of us except for Stephanie knew about the guitar hiding. And so the whole morning was fine. Sony's like, she comes down and she looks she was seeing a guitar, and the whole morning. So upset. And at first it was funny. We're like, oh my gosh, this is so funny. By the end, we were also upset at her because she ruined Christmas morning. And we were like, You don't realize how good you have.

Gabrielle Alessi  24:26  
You remember at the end, we're like, Guys, wow, after two hours of opening presents, we're like, Wow, amazing. And she was like, you didn't get the guitar, Dad?  You didn't get it? And he was like, I felt like in that moment

Stephanie Alessi  24:42  
Can you please remind everybody that I was like 15 years old.? 

Gabrielle Alessi  24:46  
It was two years ago.

Mary Alessi  24:48  
You're 15....

Lauren Alessi  24:53  
Then all of a sudden he brings out... the guitar and she was so embarrassed that she had acted that way, the whole you know, so Sunday morning, Sunday morning, Christmas  morning, but I feel like content, back to say contentment only comes when you walk through a season of victimhood. You can't just wake up and say I'm content with what I have. And I'm happy, and I'm good. It comes with seeing what others have and realizing, oh, man, I really do have one of the best families in the world. I really do have one of the best situations there is out there. And that's something you just kind of walk through.

Mary Alessi  25:25  
Or I have one. I have a family. Yeah, I have a place at Christmas to go to. I mean, there's a lot of people, the truth is Christmas. Not to get morbid - So but the truth is, no, I'm gonna, you know, hold it back. But Christmas is one of the saddest times. I mean, the suicide hotline is very busy....

Stephanie Alessi  25:45  

Mary Alessi  25:46  
Christmas Day. And why that is, is because people aren't content, people are very unhappy. There's a lot of strife, there's a lot of stress. And then the problem with that why it's greater on that day is because there's this expectation of Hallmark Christmas that everyone's having behind their snowy windows with their garland that's draped outside and they're perfect. 

Gabrielle Alessi  26:06  
Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Mary Alessi  26:08  
They're  all in Gatlinburg enjoying their life. And here I am sitting here with nothing. 

Gabrielle Alessi  26:11  

Mary Alessi  26:12  
...and entitlement, that mindset and that thought will take over your entire life. 

Gabrielle Alessi  26:19  

Mary Alessi  26:19  
 And on a day that you should be happy, you'll be miserable. But the problem is everybody else is too. And it's it starts small, and it will grow. But you know that again, we should come back and revisit it. That's a whole nother conversation you should have because it is a good one. And it helps us remember, in those micro moments, don't feel like you are owed some special experience here because of your birth order or because she got something you didn't get. Because the truth is, it's really playground stuff. That's That's how children think. 

Stephanie Alessi  26:49  

Mary Alessi  26:50  
And if you don't lay it down at 14, you won't lay it down at 24. And you won't lay down at 34. And then you'll be 44, 54 still going "I didn't get what I wanted." It what that won't change. 

Gabrielle Alessi  27:01  

Mary Alessi  27:01  
So you know that that needs to happen. 

Gabrielle Alessi  27:05  
And what happens is because to lead us into the last thing that we're talking about us, what happens is you let this deep rooted offense and hurt and entitlement and throughout your entire Christmas holidays and you're waiting for someone to say Are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay? And you're like that weird sibling orthe weird parent that's like, super, nobody wants to talk to. And then when it comes to Okay, everybody, let's clean up the table. Let's do this. Let's clean the dishes. A huge fight breaks out over dishes. 


And you're like, No, it's because you've had a bad attitude all week. And

Stephanie Alessi  27:37  
sometimes they don't even help with. 

They don't even help with the dishes. Can we talk that? but

Gabrielle Alessi  27:42  
Steph, do I not  clean up the dishes? Because I can show you the wrinkles.

Stephanie Alessi  27:48  
Other families that I've seen. 

Mary Alessi  27:52  
The truth is, however, we talked about cleaning the kitchen. And when the holidays come, there's always that one person that gets either stuck with doing all the food, or they're doing all the cleaning. And I can remember having a conversation with one mom recently, who said how do you speak to your son in law or your daughter in law about helping out? Well, I - 

Gabrielle Alessi  28:12  
You hit them.

Mary Alessi  28:13  
I personally have - I personally happen to have in law kids that jump up, and they help without being asked. I'm very blessed. 

Lauren Alessi  28:22  
Yes. Richelle is amazing about that. 

Mary Alessi  28:25  
. And brings usually stops and brings the bread or the cheese or the food or whatever was  - is willing to fry all the  chicken wings when they get to the house and in the in the food dryer. 

Stephanie Alessi  28:38  
Air fryer.  

Mary Alessi  28:40  
But not food dryer. And so I'm blessed in that way. However, if we're going to manage a lot of people, it's just like, on the job, if you're working with a team, whatever it is, there has to be communication. There has to be conversation and one of the things that I could not stand when I was a young adult, was when I thought  - I'm just gonna put it out there. Okay? 

Stephanie Alessi  29:02  

Mary Alessi  29:02  
That if I was needed, I wanted to be asked. If you need me. I'm here. Of course, I'll help you in the kitchen. Because what would happen in the first couple years of my marriage, my mother in law who was Mrs. Claus, I kid you not. Her Christmas experiences were like I'd never experienced -  the food. She would make 15 things. 

Stephanie Alessi  29:23  

Mary Alessi  29:24  
 and I was never tasked to help. 

Gabrielle Alessi  29:26  

Mary Alessi  29:27  
I would show up. Maybe bring a coke and a, you know, a loaf of bread. But I had to learn...

Stephanie Alessi  29:33  

Mary Alessi  29:33  
To say, I can't wait to be asked. I have to offer my assistance. 

Gabrielle Alessi  29:38  

Mary Alessi  29:38  
How can I help you?

Stephanie Alessi  29:39  

Mary Alessi  29:39  
What can I do? I got married at 19 I really rarely helped my mom. You know, our our parents, my parents split up so I didn't really have any environments to teach me that. But what would get me irritated was when, if I would get wind that a complaint was made behind my back...

Stephanie Alessi  29:58  
About you?

Mary Alessi  29:59  
About me. She needs to help more, you need to talk to her about helping more. And I determined and again, I have the world's greatest mother in law.

Gabrielle Alessi  30:07  
But all families do it. It's normal. 

It's very normal. And the truth is she was right. I mean, what is she gonna do confront me? She didn't even know me that well. So she wasn't wrong. She was right. But I realize instead of getting mad about that, and going, if your mom asked, why would she tell you? Well, that just put more friction....

Stephanie Alessi  30:22  

Gabrielle Alessi  30:22  
 And trouble on on Steve. It's better for me to just get up and say, How can I help you? What can I do? What can I bring and insist to help? 

And let people say no? 

Mary Alessi  30:33  
Well, yeah, my mother in law always would say, go sit down. I got this. She loved serving us. 


What I learned over the years was...

Stephanie Alessi  30:40  
it gets old. 

Mary Alessi  30:41  
It gets hard on her. 

Stephanie Alessi  30:42  

Mary Alessi  30:44  
 And she wanted to create this perfect experience so that we would come to the table. Yeah, she was trying to eliminate any boundary that would keep us from coming to her house. 

Stephanie Alessi  30:51  

Mary Alessi  30:52  
 And I, I look back on that. And I think that was smart of her for us when we were young, an adolescent. But really what we needed to be taught, which with time we were, if we're coming, we need to contribute. 

Gabrielle Alessi  31:04  

Mary Alessi  31:04  
And then contributing, it made it part of our experience, too. So if you're having a hard time with knowing that you need help with the kitchen, instead of getting angry and frustrated, and creating eggshells and frustration, or just saying because I can't speak up, I'm not doing this at my house next year. No, start early. 

Stephanie Alessi  31:24  

Mary Alessi  31:24  
Make a plan and say, Listen, I'll do all the cooking, who wants to sign up for cleaning? Yeah. And it makes all the difference in the world.

Stephanie Alessi  31:32  
Do you have something to add to this?

Richelle Alessi  31:33  
Something that I love that you guys said was you also kind of had rules? And that was whoever cooks doesn't clean? 

Gabrielle Alessi  31:43  

Richelle Alessi  31:43  
 But whoever it is in clean helps cook. And I think that's great. Because you need to find a way to involve everybody. Yeah, because there are some people are just quicker, and they're better washing dishes. But there are some that you don't want to near the dishes 'cause they won't wash them well. And then you can't get mad at them for not washing them, right? And so what you need to do is kind of like you said, create a plan and say who's doing what? Because it involves everybody. Yeah. And like that everybody's happy because you're contributing for from what they're good at. So,   everybody's happy.

Mary Alessi  32:14  

Stephanie Alessi  32:15  
 I will also say I was raised in a very American home, where even though we are Italian, there is we're very Americanized, in that setting where everybody gets up and helps. 

Mary Alessi  32:26  
Even the boys. 

Stephanie Alessi  32:27  
Even the boys, even the boys get up and help, which is very rare, because I noticed that in more Spanish families, the mother does everything. And she's very proud of that. Right? She loves to do that. And there's, I think, if that's how your family is run, and that's how they do it, cool. But I learned, maybe your family does things differently, I'm still going to do what I know is right, and come in and offer my help. 

Mary Alessi  32:32  
That's exactly right. 

Stephanie Alessi  32:39  
I'm going to insist three times. If they say sit down right now do not help then okay, at least I made it known. And sometimes I still pick up my my plate and I bring it over. If the mother does not want any help at all, I still do it. I still do it. And for young adults that maybe weren't raised in a home like that, where everybody contributes, you need to read the room. 

Mary Alessi  33:19  
That's so good. 

Stephanie Alessi  33:20  
Just read the room. And if you're the only one sitting down while everybody's up, be a little self aware. 

Gabrielle Alessi  33:27  

Stephanie Alessi  33:27  
No, but be self aware. And because I've seen like people 26, 27 It's like, okay, you got to grow up a little bit and help out like, yeah, Mom's not gonna take care of everything for the rest of your life. You got to start helping out. Like how our brother, he started at a very, or even before he got married, he started to say, Okay, I'm the one who's going to drive now. 

Gabrielle Alessi  33:48  

Stephanie Alessi  33:48  
And it was like a year or two too early. But at least he was being intentional with the transition and saying, I'm offering myself to take that role for you guys. 

Mary Alessi  33:58  
That's right. 

Stephanie Alessi  33:59  
It's time. 

Mary Alessi  33:59  
That's right. 

Gabrielle Alessi  34:00  
And I think a big thing is this quickly, and then I'm done.

Mary Alessi  34:03  
This is good. 

Stephanie Alessi  34:04  
When it's that time, especially Thanksgiving and your Christmas. It's one day, it's one holiday, be fully present with your family. Get off your phone. 

Mary Alessi  34:14  

Gabrielle Alessi  34:14  
Don't be somebody that dinner's over. You go on your phone while everybody's cooking, or cleaning because everybody thinks if I just go on my phone, it looks like I'm busy. No,  everybody sees you on your phone. So get off your phone for that night for that lunch, that dinner, and get up and help everybody even if it's just clearing the table off. And like you said, ask for help. Don't be so - asked to help. Don't be someone that's waiting because that goes back to our entitlement thing. 

Mary Alessi  34:37  
Yeah, it does. 

Gabrielle Alessi  34:38  
But be fully present at the table, clean, cook, whatever you need it because it also makes the holidays more fun because everybody's involved.

Mary Alessi  34:45  
I love that. And it does go back to entitlement because we have the power and the privilege to just by our presence and contributing in these little ways of taking what could be a very stressful, anxiety-filled divided Christmas, and bringing joy, true joy in it where you can't wait till next year and you look forward to it. And, you know, I think at the end of the day in the secular world, we talk about the spirit of Christmas is doing something for someone else, you know, and bringing the Christmas spirit everywhere we go. Well, the Christmas spirit is, is Jesus. And for those of us who are faith filled, and we're believers, we understand the power that that brings. And this is an opportunity for us to practice at the holiday, even with unsaved loved ones or, or family members that feel threatened by your new family, because that's a real thing. You know, there's a lot of that, that you have to jockey for, territorialism because you lose that in the beginning, you really do. It's a -  we said at the beginning, it's a restructuring. And I will I will close with my own personal story after being married 34 years.  I have a twin sister, who  - she has her three kids. And you know, being a part of the holiday was always very difficult. We just chose early,  my mom was very smart. We chose early. She my sister married into a big Italian family. Every Christmas, there were 100 family members. Try to not show up. That didn't happen. She knew she had to go in their direction. My mom and my father had divorced, my mom had remarried. So under those circumstances, we were going to make Christmas, we were going to grab it when we could. And my mom just decided I am not going to take some of the most precious, precious time with my family, my children and their children and wreak havoc, because I feel entitled because I'm divorced, because I've been through this, because y'all moved away. Because I have less than everyone else, you know. "Mary the family, you moved into these big Italian families. You and Martha have these big Italian families. My older sister was married into a big southern Texas family. And here I am" She never did that. My mom had this spirit about her that said, Where can I contribute so that I still am satisfied? I have my children around me. But I'm not driving them crazy and trying to control their holiday without new families by the - here's the G word - Putting guilt on them. 

Gabrielle Alessi  37:11  
Yeah, yeah. 

Mary Alessi  37:12  
And that between entitlement and guilt, they really are best friends. And they work together and they should never be brought in to the holiday season. And if we ever facilitated and something that I struggled with, I'm so grateful I had my mom was a great role model, because she was very selfless. And my mom and my mother in law had been friends for 65 years. And we just talked about it this week. We just talked about it. We took them on an early trip, the two moms so that they would feel like from their two kids, One is 60 and one is 53. But we are still their kids, it doesn't change, you guys. We're still their children, and they want that attention. And we took them on a road trip to the mountains, we pre-Christmas gamed them, we really did. So that when we got to the holiday, they felt like they got their time and their attention that they deserve. But - but they both modeled selflessness, sharing, helping us learn how to transition. Christmas, we've talked about this in other podcasts can be anytime you want it to be. 


So hopefully this helps a lot of...

Gabrielle Alessi  38:24  
this is great...

Mary Alessi  38:24  
 ...families, a lot of cooks in the kitchen. A lot of those in law, cousins sisters, reduce stress this holiday season. Does anybody want to say anything else to close us out?

Gabrielle Alessi  38:34  
Merry Christmas.

Richelle Alessi  38:35  
I would say any personality, don't use it as an excuse. 

Gabrielle Alessi  38:39  
Yeah, participate. 

Richelle Alessi  38:41  
And this is coming from someone that's more of an introverted person. If you get a little tired, which can be normal, push through it yet because you don't get those moments back with your family. So just be happy at all times.

Mary Alessi  38:53  
Yeah, great way to end this segment. And with that, so we ended another chapter in the Alessi family business podcast. I will get this! Steve usually handles it

Stephanie Alessi  39:04  
The Family Business with the Alessis. 

Mary Alessi  39:08  
Thank you guys. We hope you've enjoyed it.

Chris Alessi  39:10  
You've just enjoyed another episode of the family business podcast with the Alessis, and we can't thank you enough for being a part of our podience. Now that you've heard more about the Alessis, we want you to join in the family business. And here are four easy ways to do just that. One, make sure to follow the show right now on your app and download this episode so you can hear it at any time to rate our show and leave a review. We love reading your reviews and we often share them on the show. Three, share this episode with someone who could use this advice and tell them why you enjoyed it. And lastly four, you can go to Alessi family and leave us a voicemail comment or even a question so we can answer it on a future show. We'll see you here for our next episode at the Family Business with the Alessis because family is everybody's business.


Gabrielle AlessiProfile Photo

Gabrielle Alessi

Youth Ministry Director, Metro Life Church

Stephanie Alessi MuiñaProfile Photo

Stephanie Alessi Muiña

Steph Alessi Muiña, is a singer songwriter and worship leader from Miami, Florida. Born in a family dedicated to serving Christ in their community, Steph is now director of worship at Metro Life Church.

Steph is a beacon of unifying, faith-filled music permeated by holiness for the Church of today. After her 2017 debut EP “Still Waters” and multiple projects with Metro Life Worship, the singer songwriter is now ready to share her story through her songs more than ever!

Steph started journaling and songwriting as a child. Faced with periods of loneliness, she developed a close relationship with the Lord at an early age and processed her emotions in writing. At the same time, Steph was exposed to the diverse nature of God’s family from the beginning, shaping her heart for international communities and for people of all kinds of walks of life. Stephs involvement in women’s ministry also opened her eyes to the individual, it forged a wide view of church that she keeps in mind when writing songs. Since then she has been writing profusely with purity and honesty oozing out of her songs.