Nov. 24, 2021

Keep Your Holiday Happy! Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas Celebration | S2 E11

How do you avoid family conflict at Christmas? In this episode, Steve and Mary share key tips and strategies to keep the joy in your holiday celebrations and eliminate the stressful situations that can dampen your Christmas spirit.


The holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year for families - but they also can be the most stressful.  Between buying gifts, managing busy schedules, and dealing with family members, we can easily lose sight of the reason for this holy season - and that can lead to conflict, stress and frustration just when we should be making beautiful holiday memories with our loved ones. 

Key Takeaways from This Holiday Episode 

  • How to Keep the Stress Low 
  • How to Plan Ahead
  • How to Prepare in Advance 
  • How to Foster an Attitude of Sacrifice 
  • How to Set Up an Outreach to Serve Others 

For more tips, advice and inspiration for families, make sure to subscribe to and follow this show, and please leave us a rating and a review!
 

 

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Transcript

Steve Alessi  0:09  
Welcome to another podcast edition of the family business podcast with the Alessis. 

Mary Alessi  0:17  
Hello!

Steve Alessi  0:18  
We're here today because family is everybody's business. And we're talking about things here in the podcast booth that we can't always talk about on Sunday. And today's going to be a lot of fun because Mary is with me, Mrs. Mary Alessi and, Mary, today we're gonna be talking about preparing for the holidays. 

Mary Alessi  0:40  
Yeah. 

Steve Alessi  0:40  
So we want to get right into this. Because there's a lot as people are in the mindset of Thanksgiving, or on the eve of Thanksgiving with this podcast. And what happens from here? Because it seems like from right about now, people will be just mentally fully engaged in the holidays. And when we think of the holidays, we're really -  I don't mean to criticize it. But it seems like Thanksgiving is on the backburner because we're already on the Christmas train. 

Mary Alessi  1:14  
Of course. Let me just also clarify, we are talking about conflict within families at the holidays. I mean, that's what we're talking about, and how to avoid them. Because people need to know right off the bat that every single family, ours included, deal with a lot of conflict around the holidays. So we wanted to dive into that and get real here today and talk about even our own areas where strife is always present at the most, the happiest season of the year. That's why we do start early. That's why I like to start early. Because it just gives you more time to manage the holiday. And it's not just about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Steve Alessi  1:55  
But what you when you're saying that you're actually saying we're doing all of this planning because of people.

Mary Alessi  2:01  
 Yeah.  

Steve Alessi  2:02  
It's really everything that we do during the holidays and why we're talking about preparing for it, is because you want to manage people. 

Mary Alessi  2:09  
Yeah.

Steve Alessi  2:09  
Your expectations of them their expectation of you.

Mary Alessi  2:13  
 That's right. 

Steve Alessi  2:14  
It's brought to our attention that this will be the first holiday season that we have where there are legitimate in-laws. Yeah, so we grown the family for the first time. So we have an extra son and an extra daughter. 

Mary Alessi  2:28  
Yep. 

Steve Alessi  2:28  
With the extra son and the extra daughter are their parents or your siblings. And so we also have expanded what that looks like with the family for the holiday. So we are your what we're talking about in preparing is how to manage all of that, which when you're dealing with so many people during the holidays, there's, there's going to be conflict .... 

Mary Alessi  2:51  
Absolutely. 

Steve Alessi  2:52  
...somewhere and not that you're going to eliminate all of that. But here's the thing, if you're going to have a holiday season, you should be able to enjoy the holiday season, right? And if it comes to Christmas, then let's, let's enjoy it.

Mary Alessi  3:08  
Well, Christmas should be. it should be fun. Yeah, it should be a time of celebrating and getting together. It should be a ton about family. Obviously we know Christmas is not about us, ultimately, it's about the reason for the season, which is Jesus. But of course it's been commercialized and we love it. And thank you, Lord for giving us your birthday. Yeah, and we have a great time as a family, we get together. I think the biggest reason for the conflict is expectations. And every family has the way they do Christmas, their history, their traditions.

Steve Alessi  3:43  
Their culture, sure. 

Mary Alessi  3:43  
Their culture, the thing you know, who has arroz con ? Do I say that right? Sure, kind of something like that? Anyway.. Say it again? 

Jon Roman  3:54  
Arroz con dulce.

Mary Alessi  3:56  
There it is, isn't dulce... sdon't worry about it. Rice and beans. 

Steve Alessi  4:01  
You're gonna question Jon Roman? 

Mary Alessi  4:02  
Oh, no, no 

Jon Roman  4:03  
Arroz con gandules. 

Mary Alessi  4:05  
There it is. Okay, that's the one -  that's what I was looking at looking for. The rice and beans, the way they do it in Miami, there's the Puerto Rican way, there's a Cuban way there's Argentinian way, there's so many different cultures and then of course there's the mashed potatoes and gravy and the mac cheese.

Steve Alessi  4:19  
The right Christmas.

Mary Alessi  4:20  
The right American way that Jesus celebrates Christmas is with macaroni and cheese, I don't know,  and turkey. But there's just a lot of expectations that that people come with and families come with and how do you combine all that together?

Steve Alessi  4:36  
And here's another fun fact. Cancel culture last year cancelled Christmas. 

Mary Alessi  4:42  
Crazy.

Steve Alessi  4:43  
Can you believe that? They went after the big holiday for all good people and good Christians. 

Mary Alessi  4:49  
It's very sad. So...

Steve Alessi  4:50  
yeah this will be as we were reminded of by AP the first Christmas...

Yeah...

... after people did not get together last year because of COVID for Christmas, so there's a lot of expectations that people have. And there's a lot of excitement. But with that comes to .... brings us back to how do we best prepare for that Mary?  I know right now in our church where we operate our business. 

Mary Alessi  5:19  
Yes. 

Steve Alessi  5:20  
We have been shopping earlier for this whole month. We've been getting shopping out of the way so that come December we can celebrate the Savior the right way. 

That's right.

 So we've been trying to handle all of that on the front end. So let me just ask you this from, just as my wife, head of our home. When do you start preparing? June?

Mary Alessi  5:45  
Mentally? Honestly, I because of our...  no, really, July is the big month.  Well, let me clarify, because I was the music pastor, music director for many years, and we always did Christmas events. Everyone knows if you're in church music, and you do events and cantatas and shows you start in July, and in July, you already you know, Christmas in July, if you watch QVC, QVC, starts getting ready in July. 

Steve Alessi  6:09  
Really? 

Mary Alessi  6:10  
Oh yes. So halfway through the year in the summertime, when things are just kind of slow, you get your creative brain around it, and you start talking about it and you get your plans, your overall sketch plans for the holidays. And that helps so much because you're not rushing at, in October, because if you don't do it, this what we learned, if we don't talk about it and make a plan in July, September comes, and September's lost in back to school. And then it's October. And it's really believe it or not, you're rushing now. And anytime you start rushing, it increases the stress, increases the anxiety. And then Christmas is never what you wanted it to be because you didn't start early enough. And I'm not talking about buying presents. This is for those who maybe don't even do presents at Christmas, I'm just talking about getting your mind wrapped around what you want Christmas to be like, and how you want the family to come together.

Steve Alessi  7:03  
Interesting. If you, if you start early exercise a little practice - patience...

Mary Alessi  7:07  
Yes.  

Steve Alessi  7:08  
You definitely will find yourself free from some of the weight, the stress, the pressure that comes on you thinking  "I got to get this gift, I got to get that done, I got to buy this, buy that."

Mary Alessi  7:20  
Things I wanted to do. And I didn't get to do. 

It happened to me last month, and this was... we're actually broadcasting this in November. But back in September, I saw something for some people that I knew I always try to honor during the holidays. And I bought it. And I thought okay, I'm gonna give it to him right now. But then I thought no, no, no. Put it aside. Yeah, save it for Christmas. 

Steve Alessi  7:48  
Right. And as we're doing this and planning for the holidays already. It's like, oh, here's the good thing did it early. I don't have to get them.... that part of my list has already been checked off. 

Mary Alessi  7:58  
That's right. 

Steve Alessi  7:59  
 And but I wanted to give it to him right then when I got it. But hey, it's gonna have more value when I'm able to do it at Christmas. So okay, so you start preparing somewhere along the summer. 

Mary Alessi  8:11  
 I do. 

Steve Alessi  8:11  
And then what do you do then? How do you prepare? Personally? 

Mary Alessi  8:15  
I start honestly thinking about the theme and what I want Christmas to feel like, look like. When is Christmas this coming year? Is it on a Thursday? Is Christmas Eve on a Wednesday?  So how does that look? How will that look for the family? When am I going to get my Christmas decor up? I don't want Christmas decor to get lost and just be work. I want it to potentially be a night that feels Christmassy. So I'm going to plan that in advance and tell the family "Hey, listen, come over. I'm going to get the tree up. Let's have some hot chocolate, some cider, and help, help me and we'll make it fun. I'll cook dinner for you. And we'll put some decor together. I'll give me two hours. We'll cook, we'll do decor." And believe it or not, it starts that ball rolling. And for me as a mom of four kids and now two in law kids, it kind of helps meet that need of that Christmassy feeling that every mom wants. And if you started early -  it earlier and that happens early November, it doesn't get lost in thanksgiving and then the strain comes and then the device well her house, his house, their house, they're going out of town... well that because you're just trying to make everybody's dreams come true at that point. So if you start early, and you make things an event that really are work, but you make them a family event, it's just a little tweak that can make all the difference in your joy, because it's meeting your expectation.

Steve Alessi  9:34  
Speaking of the extended family members that now we have in our life, because we're preparing so early, it's really helping us deal with their family expectations. So in our sense...

Mary Alessi  9:45  
 Yes. 

Steve Alessi  9:46  
We have two newbies. So where are they going to spend their holidays? Are they going to spend their Thanksgiving with our family are they going to...is our daughter and son now going to spend Thanksgiving with their In laws.

Mary Alessi  10:00  
 Right. 

Steve Alessi  10:01  
 Or how does that work?  So when we are looking at our calendar, because we're planning in advance, we're able to say, Okay, this works better in our family, because we, we really emphasize this. This is something that means something, it means something in our culture, it means something in our faith, we would love our family to be around at this time. What -  then we go to the other family members, and we're saying to them, what, which of the holidays really mean the most to you? So what we're trying to do, by early preparing and planning is choose where the family members, where we're going to be able to hang out with each other, which holiday we're going to be able to hang out with with each other, and which one they need to be spending with their other family members. Because that other family deserves that opportunity to be able to also share in the celebration of the holiday. So I guess one thing right off the bat, reason we need to prepare early is because it removes a lot of stress.

Mary Alessi  11:00  
It takes all the stress out.

Steve Alessi  11:01  
It does, right? 

Mary Alessi  11:02  
It really really does. And and the family knows, there's always an initiator, let it be us, let it be whoever wants to be the initiator. But when you do initiate Christmas in the holidays early enough, you set the plan in motion, and everyone brings up their game, because not everybody's a planner. 

Steve Alessi  11:20  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  11:21  
They're really not. And I wouldn't say by nature, I'm a planner. But when it comes to the holidays, I love them. I probably love them more than you do. But I do love them. And I want them to be something special every year. So that we reduce conflict, I initiate with the family, "Hey," even my side of the family because I have a twin sister and we still get together for the holiday. And she's got her family and I've got mine and but we we try to keep the traditions that we've had where Thanksgiving we've always spent on our side of the family with my mom. That's not always the case. But if you initiate and you say, Listen, can we talk about what the holidays are going to look like? You know, you're not going to get your answer in July. But she may get to the end of October, and everybody's had time to think about it. And now you do have your plan. But I just want to say to that, it's important to remember that Christmas isn't about and I have to remind myself of this. Christmas isn't about making my dreams come true. It's not about meeting my expectations, although I have them, probably more than anybody in our family. I have big expectations. But what I've learned, and had to learn is, it's really about enjoying the holiday and not losing the joy in the process of it. So that when holiday - when Christmas is over, you're like I hated it. Yeah, you know, that was awful. And we had a fight and and you know, so and so didn't show up. Can you believe how rude? You know, I don't even I don't want any of that at the holiday. You said it in the beginning. That by the time we get there, we are truly enjoying the Savior.

Steve Alessi  12:51  
 Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  12:52  
At the holiday.

Steve Alessi  12:53  
Well, I just reminded myself of something. I'll make a little note....

Mary Alessi  12:55  
what'd you do? 

Steve Alessi  12:57  
Well, we need an extra two stockings this year. Oh, gosh, I got to put that on my to do list right now. 

Mary Alessi  13:04  
We do. Yeah, cuz they're official this year. They

Steve Alessi  13:07  
Do I call him Muina? Do I put Muina at the top? 

Mary Alessi  13:09  
Oh, this is tough, we've got two Chris's in the family. 

Steve Alessi  13:12  
We're gonna have to do Muina. Three stockings, Jon said.

Mary Alessi  13:16  
Yes.

Steve Alessi  13:21  
As you can see who the real planner is here. We need...

Mary Alessi  13:26  
...the details. Those are the details. 

Steve Alessi  13:27  
New stockings. Yeah, that's good. 

Mary Alessi  13:29  
Get 'em engraved, and baby girl because we don't know, 

Steve Alessi  13:33  
...in-laws 

Mary Alessi  13:34  
...her name yet. 

Gosh. 

...this is crazy that we're already here. 

Steve Alessi  13:39  
Yeah. And hopefully they don't listen to the podcast. And we'll be surprised that we have a stocking for 'em at Christmas. 

Mary Alessi  13:46  
They don't listen. 

Steve Alessi  13:47  
They don't. Okay. That's the...Can I mention something here about keeping even the stress low?

Mary Alessi  13:52  
 Yeah. 

Steve Alessi  13:53  
It could, it could help you balance the emotions. 

Mary Alessi  13:55  
Yeah...

Steve Alessi  13:56  
...of the holidays. For instance, if we're thinking ahead, here's what I want to start already talking about in my family. I want to talk about the fact that my dad's not there. This will be a second time.

Mary Alessi  14:06  
That's right.

Steve Alessi  14:07  
 This will be the second Christmas without my dad, which then means we have to be thinking, I'm thinking in terms of, I want to make sure my mom's taking care of.  My sisters, somehow, we split that up, Mom hangs out with us at Thanksgiving, she'll hang out at Christmas with them, but in our own family, I'm going to keep talking Papa. I'm going to bring up the stuff, the name what we did, let them talk about it so that on Christmas morning, we were not emotionally, un... you know, unbalanced. myself not emotionally unbalanced. Where now I'm sad because you know...

Mary Alessi  14:43  
that's good...

Steve Alessi  14:43  
...He's not there. So that's just preparing in advance just helps you even deal with the stress levels. And it helps you deal with the emotions that you're going to have. And speaking about emotions. You know what? That brings up this about family. If you're preparing in advance, you've got to be willing to make certain sacrifices, 

Mary Alessi  15:04  
Sacrifices...

Steve Alessi  15:05  
And it's best to prepare yourself in advance. So talk about that for a minute, because maybe you have family members that are coming to your house that don't share the same faith that you share. 

Mary Alessi  15:14  
Yeah. 

Steve Alessi  15:14  
Or are in a different lifestyle? Yeah. Do you open your home up to them? Do you want them around? Do you want to, you know, embrace the partner that comes with them? How do we manage all of that stuff, as we prepare in advance? 

Well, the holidays are number one.... They're a time that the family comes together to celebrate each other and the holiday. It's also a time for us to really express our faith, because as Christians, it is about... the, the reason that we are Christians is because a baby was born, a Savior was sent to the world. So it is an awesome time for us to share our faith. You know, we started a Christmas store this year, and all the ornaments are Christmas themed there,  meaning they're nativity, their baby Jesus.  There's, there's not enough of the holiday that's about Christ that we see that's marketed into the world. So we have such an opportunity as a church and as believers to bring back the real reason for the season. And ultimately, that's what's going to give us joy. So when we do have family members that don't share that faith, it's hard and Christmas can be very difficult. People get very self centered. It's about me, it's what did you get me you didn't give me the right gift last year, you're going to get... Are we doing gifts? You know, how much are we spending, okay, $25. Well... you know, there's always somebody that isn't happy with what they got, even getting the time slot, you know, who's going to get together? Whose house is it going to be hosted by? There's just a lot of drama that can come along with it. And I think that's where we, as believers, we really need to exhale, and just say, I started early, I've got my needs met, I'm keeping my expectation reasonable. I'm not setting my sights too high. I've got unsaved loved ones that I know are not going to come to the table with the same fruit of the Spirit that I'm going to come in. And it is an opportunity for us to really lay down our wants and our needs, make Jesus the reason for the season and pray about the right people, family members to open the door to. 

Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  16:07  
And I think that's like a whole nother podcast in and of itself, knowing when to open the door to family members that reject Christ, or their lifestyle puts you in conflict. 

Steve Alessi  17:24  
And you know, Mary, it may not even be a rejection, it's just a different opinion ... a different viewpoint. 

Mary Alessi  17:31  
Just not living for the Lord. 

Steve Alessi  17:32  
We can't, we have to be so careful when we say certain things we don't want to come across as haters, you know.  We don't want to come across speaking a Christianese language about this. But if there are values of a family member, that are different than the values that we hold dear to - it doesn't have to be all spiritual, just values in general. 

Mary Alessi  17:56  
Right. 

Steve Alessi  17:57  
 If there are different values, and the person because they're blood family, you still want to celebrate the holidays with them. If you're preparing in advance, maybe you could say, alright, you know what? I may not, I may not because I don't want tension and friction in...on .... on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve, maybe I could say to this family member of mine, let's go to a restaurant, you know, the second week of December to just get together for family sake and celebrate the holidays together as family. Now, I'm not at that point, I'm not eliminating my family member that I have a different set of values with, but I am including them so that they still sense that, you know, we could have a difference of viewpoint about these values. And I still want to love you anyway. So let's let's, let's just manage these differences in a way during the holidays, that is going to still allow us to celebrate each other because of our love for one another. Doesnt mean you gotta have them, you know, be invited or have them over to house with all the rest of the family.

Mary Alessi  19:17  
No. Well, we can set ourselves up by not knowing that we can set boundaries, and we can set ourselves up to really have an awful time because we have not set those boundaries and rerouted with a good idea what would lead us to you know, more conflict. I'll give an example. A lot of a lot of families, you know, they might have family members that drink a lot. And at the holidays, it's time to just get together get drunk drink, have a party, jump in the pool, you know, in Miami, and you might have little kids and you're saying "You know, I just can't take them. We can't go because the family... " Well, there's... that's what you're suggesting. Find another time to love your family. 

Steve Alessi  19:55  
Yep.

Mary Alessi  19:56  
...Without making them feel like you're the Christian and now you're going to rain on their parade, Oh, you're too you know, goody two shoes, so self righteous. No, I just - you can give yourself permission to set boundaries in love. They're not going to change. 

Steve Alessi  20:10  
Right. 

Mary Alessi  20:10  
That's harder for them to change and not drink at their party to accommodate you, versus, you know, that's probably not the best environment for our family. But so let's do something else. Let's get together during the day, where there's not a lot of drinking. 

Steve Alessi  20:24  
Yeah.

Mary Alessi  20:24  
 So there's just ways around it to reduce the conflict.

Steve Alessi  20:27  
 Yeah, that's the that's why we're trying to prepare in advance. What about planning ahead with events, shows, trips?

Mary Alessi  20:35  
 Oh, yeah.

Steve Alessi  20:35  
All of that, but you got the - like, at our church environment, you're gonna have programs, you got your whole shopping deal going on? How important is it then to plan ahead for those?

Mary Alessi  20:45  
It's very important. Because what we have found as a family, that the more the holiday is filled with things we're doing at the church, like the Christmas show, the single moms event, all of our family serves at all these events. We're doing big pop up days, everything is to reach the community. We do it Thanksgiving, the turkey days where single moms come. We do the the shop with a cop, we do all of that, and our families involved. When we have not done those things, we felt like the holiday was empty, because we just left it to fit our need. But when we were active in all those activities, which is why we start early, because we say let's fill up the holiday with opportunities to give back, opportunities to get the family together that aren't just on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So like the Christmas Show, when we first decided I said to the kids, I want to do a Christmas show. They were like you're crazy. Mom. There's no, we can't cram one more thing in. Now they can't imagine the holiday without the Christmas Show. Because it really is kind of a diversion. It fills your cup. But you're also giving back, you're serving other people. And if you plan enough in advance, all that gets on your calendar, and it gives you things to find joy in that aren't just crazy family related, or that one time slot that you're trying to make it all happen at once. Yeah.

Steve Alessi  22:04  
Well, planning the trip requires you gotta do it in advance, make sure and I guess, preparing or planning it is really getting your brain around it. Okay, are we going to do this? When we're going to head out of town? What kind of hotels, whatever we're going to do. But yeah, that eliminates the stress from the last minute deal. Take last minute trips, sometimes that's a little stressful. But that's good to consider all that now. What family members you're going to stop by and visit, and so forth. All of that is really important.

Mary Alessi  22:31  
Can I, Can I interject there something we did this year? Because we've got two new couples. And there's a lot of adjustment to that.

Steve Alessi  22:38  
 Yeah. So what are we doing? 

Mary Alessi  22:39  
And we decided back in, I looked at the date back in August, the two singles in the house said "can we not be home for Christmas?" Because it is such a major change? And we said yes, let's do something different. So we found a city we know we love that we could drive to and we went -  I booked hotel rooms months ago. And just for the four of us, we all got our whole trip planned. But we also knew that as we got closer and things changed, we could change them. But we had our trip booked with a little exit strategy if we needed to. But the beautiful part about that is it keeps us always remembering, we have that trip ahead of us. Yeah, that's going to be fun. For the first time in all these years. It's just going to be four of us. I know. But, but we plan that early enough where we're not scrambling with all the feelings and the emotion as we get closer to Christmas, where it's glaring. There's so many changes this year.

Steve Alessi  23:35  
Yeah. Your gifts, your food, when you're going to an event are like we're right now on Thanksgiving, but are you -  How are you planning food for the event? Are you including other family members? 

Mary Alessi  23:49  
Oh, yeah. 

Steve Alessi  23:50  
Instead of just making it all about, you know, the home your pressure? 

Mary Alessi  23:53  
Yeah. 

Steve Alessi  23:53  
... providing all of that. How are you sharing in the plans for that?

Mary Alessi  23:57  
Well, I'm not -  I am not a control freak. Unless it's Thanksgiving lunch, and I want certain things on the menu. 

Steve Alessi  24:05  
Why you looking at me that way? 

Mary Alessi  24:06  
Because people have listened to the podcast. So they know. I will say though, that is something that as I've gotten older, I would rather have peace and a good time, then the perfect meal. And, and asking for help? Again, this goes back to strategy and planning, asking for help where there's a menu, there's a schedule, even when a lot of people come together at our house. And there's a lot of free time because they're all staying over having a schedule. We're going to have breakfast at 10 o'clock, you know, and then in the afternoon, there's free time and then in the evening, we're going to do tea, our wine our and different ones are going to oversee that because we've got a big family and we have a farmhouse and people like to come to that. But I can't be the only one in the kitchen and it's not fair. So communication, asking for help, letting the other family members know, if you're coming, this is what we need you to do. And sharing the load financially. 

Steve Alessi  25:05  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  25:06  
It just helps when you have those open dialogues and you make those plans. Everybody enjoys the time together more. Even putting on the day schedule, game , game hour, you know? and they can come 

Steve Alessi  25:21  
Wow, for someone not that organizing, you're - you would do that? Game hour?

Mary Alessi  25:28  
Well,  we're going to do games for the family and who wants to play....movie time we're going to do a movie at nine o'clock, you know, for whoever wants to come down.  Those little things. You go, "Oh, my family doesn't need that, whatever." And you'd be surprised. 

Steve Alessi  25:40  
You're right. 

Mary Alessi  25:41  
...That when you plan it, and you make it fun like that, then it just, it makes all the difference in the world. 

Steve Alessi  25:49  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  25:49  
If you're if you're a family of four, or if you're a family of 40. Yeah, incorporate that.

Steve Alessi  25:53  
For all the non Americans listening, Thanksgiving Day from about two to four is nap time. So you definitely need to schedule in your naps after all that turkey? 

Mary Alessi  26:04  
Yes, we need to get the nap on the schedule,

Steve Alessi  26:07  
for sure. 

Mary Alessi  26:08  
For sure. 

Steve Alessi  26:09  
I would say even as you prepare in advance for your food, why don't you prepare in advance for your decor around your house? Now, I'm not crazy about getting outside and lighting up the house, the fence, the front porch, Christmas tree, all that stuff. That's not my go to at all. It's like more work. 

Mary Alessi  26:33  
Right. 

Steve Alessi  26:34  
 But thinking about it in advance, okay, helps me kind of manage well, I don't have to do it all in one day. That's right, I can do it all on one, you know, once Friday, it can do a little bit on the day off. And then the next Friday, I can do a little bit more, and get it done early enough so that you're able to enjoy it. Here -  here's our goal of Christmas as a family. We want to wring out the rag of Christmas so much that when we are done with Christmas, we can't wait to throw the Christmas tree away and burn it up. Because 

Mary Alessi  27:06  
And face the new year. 

Steve Alessi  27:07  
All of the decorations around the house, we just want to throw away instead of pack them because we have taken every ounce of Christmas out of Christmas. And and that's good because we're starting early, but that's important. You know, think about your home, doing it with the kids, how that works, how you encourage the spirit of it and and not do sometimes like I would do. "Oh my gosh" and complain and not have the right Christmas

Mary Alessi  27:33  
Spirit? 

Steve Alessi  27:34  
 Attitude about it. 

Mary Alessi  27:36  
Can I just say Can I just interject here too?  Hallmark Channel...

Steve Alessi  27:40  
 Yeah? 

....taught us something that even the unfestive.... people that don't decorate their homes themselves, Love it, because hallmark is the number one watch show during the holidays. As a matter of fact, it's what is it October 27 today?  something like that. And hallmarks already launched all their Christmas shows. It's already started. Steve, can you imagine? 

Yeah. 

Can you believe it?

Yeah, you and the girls already on the couch. 

Mary Alessi  28:04  
I'm obsessed with it. But what's great about that is,  itagain, it gives you that pace where it all does doesn't rush at you at once. But it shows that people do love it. They do love the festival, the festivity of it. And I'm happy to sacrifice and be that person.

Steve Alessi  28:20  
When did you start going and buying the stuff in Atlanta that you saw? June, June, June. And they told you you were actually late. 

Mary Alessi  28:28  
They said January is when you shop or the next year at Christmas time.

Steve Alessi  28:32  
So our Christmas will actually spill over into January 2022.

Mary Alessi  28:39  
Si, Senor. 

Steve Alessi  28:39  
 ... so that you can get the church ready for next next year. That's crazy.

Mary Alessi  28:44  
 I know. 

Steve Alessi  28:45  
Here's something before we close this out, Mary, what about an outreach, putting, scheduling an outreach somewhere within your month to serve others? But what do you think about that?

Mary Alessi  28:58  
I think every single family, whether it's a single mom, a single dad, married couple needs to plan something with their family, to go and be a blessing. There are so many opportunities that you can go and really, that's what your kids are going to remember anyway. Because that hits our soul. When we have an opportunity to give back, whether it's at an orphanage, or the Miami rescue mission.

Steve Alessi  29:25  
Or a senior living facility. 

Mary Alessi  29:28  
Absolutely, go by and pass out, you know, little ornaments. There's so many opportunities. They're a phone call away.

Steve Alessi  29:34  
 Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  29:35  
What a difference it makes in perspective for your kids that Christmas isn't just about what they get under the tree. And what they're disappointed that they did not get. 

Steve Alessi  29:44  
Yeah.

Mary Alessi  29:44  
 And you make it about other people and you let your kids know that there's a lot of people that don't have what we have. 

Steve Alessi  29:50  
Yeah,

Mary Alessi  29:50  
...at the holiday.

Steve Alessi  29:51  
...takes the attention off of yourself. 

Mary Alessi  29:53  
It does. 

Steve Alessi  29:53  
Yeah. And it's it's just a principle that it's better to give than it is to receive. If we can do that for  others...

Mary Alessi  30:01  
Your neighbors. Yeah,  you might - you might have a lady on the in your neighborhood on your street? That's an elderly lady that lives alone.

Steve Alessi  30:07  
 Yeah...

Mary Alessi  30:07  
....that her kids aren't coming to visit her. 

Steve Alessi  30:09  
Yeah. 

Mary Alessi  30:09  
You could you find out 

Steve Alessi  30:11  
Sad now....

Mary Alessi  30:12  
but it's true, especially with COVID. Again, we don't know. But you could to add your kids go and tell your kids what you're doing. And we're baking cookies, or we're gonna make a little meal, we're gonna take it over to her.

Steve Alessi  30:22  
which is one of the plusses....

Mary Alessi  30:24  
Yes.

Steve Alessi  30:25  
....bonuses to being a part of a church community. Because your church community here we're doing something at our place that is reaching out to many of our single moms Yeah, where we help them not only with food, but we help them with gifts for their children. It's a big outreach that we have. We also have the Miami rescue mission. And here we are providing a -  food for the homeless during the Thanksgiving season. So there's ways that you can contribute to that. And even as a family, if you financially give a gift towards something like that, like one member of our church did this week, he actually had his kids sit down and write out the check. 

Mary Alessi  31:05  
That's brilliant. 

Steve Alessi  31:06  
Write it out. So they're explaining to their kid  what they're doing and they're giving. So what does that do? It's teaching them to think outside of themselves. And I think it also, I would say to our regular community of listeners, if you are part of what we do here, consider looking around at others in this church community There may be single individuals that do not have a chance to go home, maybe because of COVID restrictions still, whatever. Maybe you want to invite them over to your home, share your home with them, share the holidays with them. If it's Christmas, bring them over for Christmas, Christmas Eve, or invite friends of yours to come and join you at a church environment because Christmas is usually a time people want to go to church. That's good. That's a ...find that church that you want to invite somebody to come be a part of that. But think outside of yourself. Because once....we've learned a principle, what you make happen for others, God turns around makes happen for you. So you want to bring joy to others. If you'll do that, then you're going to find a lot of joy being returned to you. So just think out of the box, think out and plan in advance. And you'll be able to see that this holiday season of 2021 will be one filled with much joy. Okay, gotta go. But the last question, here's a question for you. What do you want for Christmas?

Mary Alessi  32:35  
World peace. I don't know. You know what I need? You want to know what I need?

Steve Alessi  32:40  
Talk. I'm giving you a chance right now. What do you want? What do you need?

Mary Alessi  32:45  
I just need a new watch. 

Steve Alessi  32:47  
A new watch. 

Mary Alessi  32:49  
I need a new watch. 

Steve Alessi  32:50  
Perfect. 

Mary Alessi  32:51  
And you know, I'm good with knockoffs. I don't need anything.

Steve Alessi  32:55  
No you're not. They break and then we don't see them again. Okay, I know you're not gonna believe this. But I want another gun. 

Mary Alessi  33:02  
No, come on. 

Steve Alessi  33:03  
Yeah, I got it all picked out. 

Mary Alessi  33:04  
Are you kidding me? 

Steve Alessi  33:05  
Yeah, it's gonna be cool. All right. Thanks for listening to another episode of the family business with the Alessis. Hopefully you are encouraged today. Thanks for joining us.

Chris Alessi  33:19  
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. Two, 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 for you can go to Alessifamilybusiness.com 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.