With Thanksgiving almost behind us, we’ll officially enter the holiday season.

I know … I know …  stores have been pushing us into the holiday spirit since November 1st.

And, Mariah Carey has officially proclaimed it’s time.

Some of you may already have your home and office decorated. And some may even be listening to holiday music already.

Call me old-fashioned, but my Christmas lights turn on the day after Thanksgiving.

During the holiday season, there seem to be endless to-dos, including attending various gatherings.

Your calendar may already be booked, as family, friends, and coworkers started planning their festive gatherings a few weeks ago.

You may be looking forward to attending some gatherings. Spending time with people you genuinely care about and looking forward to catching up with them.

Other gatherings you may be dreading.

You may be attending them due to obligations—for example, your spouse’s office party where you don’t know many people.

If you dread a gathering and there’s no way to get out of going, challenge yourself to make the most of the gathering.

Develop conversation starters. Here are some examples:

How do you know the host?

Where have you traveled that was most memorable?

What are your top three favorite movies?

Which shows are you binge-watching?

I avoid asking about someone’s family unless they bring it up first — you never know if someone is going through a divorce.

I also stay away from politics and religion.

Other than a lull in conversation, I dread being trapped in a conversation with one person.

There’s never an easy way to leave, especially if the topic is not something I want to discuss anymore.

Here are a few getaways I’ve learned over the years:

Introduce them to someone walking by you.

Excuse yourself to go to the restroom.

Express gratitude for meeting them and explain you need to find your spouse or friend.

If you have too many dreaded gatherings to attend, you may want to re-evaluate why you are accepting these invitations.

Life’s too short to spend with people you don’t want to be around, especially during the holidays.

(Update to original post from November 27, 2017)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”