It's not about the big expensive presents or the extravagant displays of affection. Good relationships in love, family and friendship all require a lot of maintenance - and I like to think that the small things count the most. Getting a cup of tea for someone, really listening, being attentive to how others are doing, volunteering to lend a hand when I am physically able, and saying thank you when people do things for me... all these things are a way to take responsibility for my social environment and my relationships.
This time of year can involve rather a lot of family obligations and it's easy to get carried away in the stress and drama, which often has a tinge of emotional baggage because of things that happened or didn't happen long ago. That's when it's especially important to take responsibility for ones own emotional stability to not start spreading gruff or acting out based on bad feelings.
Living with chronic illness is bound to place a strain on any family, and yes, it's important to talk about things, but there's a time and a place for everything. If I get upset during a family holiday, I try to take a break all by myself to put things in perspective and focus on how I can be useful and add something positive to the situation instead of acting out.